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Now that the Ravens’ leading tackler is on the market as a free agent, the New England Patriots shouldn’t hesitate for a second to sign that man.
But not for the reasons you might think.
Sure, he led the Ravens in tackles with 71 in 2012, somehow managing to do so — and haul in an interception for good measure — despite apparently suffering from six broken ribs for most of the season.
Yes, he’s only 28 years old, 6’1″ and 225 pounds of physical play at the strong safety position, someone who could shore up the Patriots sieve of a secondary with some solid tackling and punishing hits.
And okay, the Patriots probably don’t need to add to their sudden gluttony of safeties, with the newly signed Adrian Wilson joining second-year safety Tavon Wilson (that’s going to be confusing) and converted cornerback Devin McCourty.
But that’s alright. I don’t want the Patriots to sign Pollard for his abilities between the lines.
I want the Patriots to get Pollard under contract specifically to keep him from playing a single snap between those lines. At least in another uniform.
When Pollard lines up opposite the Patriots offense, after all, that’s when things go bad. (Skip ahead to the next paragraph if you don’t want to relive Pollard’s already well-documented Reign of Terror, Pats fans.) First, there was his takedown of Tom Brady‘s ACL in 2008 when Pollard played for the Kansas City Chiefs. Then, as a Houston Texan he caused former Patriot (that’s weird to put in writing) Wes Welker to shred his ACL heading into the 2009 playoffs, and two years later wrenched tight end Rob Gronkowski‘s ankle 90 degrees to sprained as a Raven during the 2011 AFC Championship, rendering Gronk all but useless during that next game that I’ve blocked from my memory forever. Finally, last year’s AFC title rematch against the Ravens brought Pollard’s crushing head-to-head blow on running back Stevan Ridley, knocking the ball loose and Ridley unconscious as the Patriots, down 21-13, were driving to potentially tie the game.
Frankly, it would be irresponsible of New England not to sign Pollard and remove that threatening karmic (Karmellic?) force that almost every year does something to derail the Patriots season. Even if the Patriots already are set at the safety position, or even if his contract would be too pricey to fit the team’s overall roster building plans under the salary cap, that shouldn’t be an impediment to bringing him on board.
After all, the role I envision for Pollard doesn’t even require filling one of the Patriots’ 53 roster spots. When you think about it, Pollard would be the perfect personnel addition to the team’s medical staff. No medical or scientific breakthrough could better ensure the health of the Patriots come playoff time than the hiring of Bernard Karmell Pollard, MD.