One would think after spending 15 years in the league, Rodney Harrison would know better than to try to get one NFL player to speak bad on another for no good reason, but on Sunday night he tried his hardest to bait Kansas City Chiefs DT Chris Jones into speaking bad on Zach Wilson.
Harrison, now a member of the press, is surely twirled up in the media-driven narrative that Wilson is a shell of a signal caller and a backup quarterback at best. In some regards, those assessments might be true, Wilson hasn't been very good and has struggled to prove he was worth taking with the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
But he definitely went too far trying to involve Jones in furthering the narrative.
Chris Jones gives a masterclass in how to navigate tough press questions
With Jones on the postgame show after the Chiefs narrowly defeated the Jets by three, Harrison had this exchange with Jones:
RH: "Was Zach better tonight than what you anticipated he would be, watching him on tape? And you can be honest."
CJ: "Honestly, if I'm being completely honest, we knew it was going to be a battle. He's continuing to get better week in and week out. And he's continuing to lead week in and week out.
RH: "But watching that tape, man you got to look at this dude and say, 'oh, he is garbage, like, we should really tear him apart."
Really intense words from Harrison on Wilson's play. Clearly, the young quarterback has struggled, but his choice of adjective is incredibly harsh. He was desperately trying to get Jones to come to his side and say something disparaging about Wilson, but Jones outright refused to, and even said he thinks Wilson is better than the consensus has suggested.
Jones later said, "Like I said, Zach Wilson is special, man. You just got to give the guy time."
Harrison replied: "Wait, wait, wait, did you say Zach Wilson is special?", to which Jones replied bluntly, "Yeah." Harrison continued, "I think he had a special night but I don't think he's special. You're [gesturing to Jones] special because you've proved it over a course of time. [Wilson]'s not special."
Rodney Harrison is the ultimate boss in the Try Not to Say Something Bad About Zach Wilson game, and Jones beat it. Ultimately, Harrison probably isn't wrong, even if his choice of words was anything but balanced and diplomatic... Wilson has QBR that ranks 27th. He has looked out of sorts at times and genuinely played poorly for two of his four games played.
But for Harrison to roll out the "garbage" descriptor on a night when Wilson's performance included two touchdowns on 245 yards of passing, no interceptions, and a QBR over 100... What are we doing? It would look terrible for Jones to slam a guy who his team only narrowly beat.
A nice job by Jones to keep it respectful toward Wilson on the best night of his season so far.