Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard landed a hit for history, that forever changed the 2008 season.
But anyone who listens to Pollard for any length of time, as this reporter did Saturday night for 20 minutes, knows there is no way he intentionally hurt Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
“How can anyone call me dirty when all I was doing was giving 100 percent effort?” Pollard said. “I really do feel bad about what happened. I talked to (Chiefs quarterback) Damon Huard about it and told him to please tell Tom, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do it.
“I hope (Brady) understands this is a game of football. He came in when Drew Bledsoe got hurt. Some people mean to do it and some people are just playing the game. And I honestly was playing the game and didn’t mean to hurt him.”
Yet despite Pollard’s pleas of innocence, others have been skeptical. Pollard said he has received a surprising amount of hate mail this week, including multiple death threats. Many of the e-mails and telephone calls that originated in Boston have been turned over to Chiefs security, and Pollard believes there is little behind them.
“It’s crazy,” Pollard said. “Do I think someone is stupid enough to do anything? You never know. It’s probably someone who lost money on the Patriots or someone who had (Brady) in his fantasy league. That’s what I really think. It’s just diehard fans talking trash.
“But why fault someone for playing the game of football? I understand there are diehard fans, but I have a job to do just like they have a job to do.”
Last Sunday, Pollard’s job was to play the best defense possible. At one point, it included hitting Brady and delivering a blow on the knee that landed the Patriots quarterback on the injured reserve list.
“I heard him scream and I knew it was something bad,” Pollard recalled. “I went to Herm (Edwards) on the sideline and said, ‘He’s done. He’s hurt. That was not intentional.’ And Herm said, ‘I know, I know it wasn’t.’ ”
Still, Pollard felt disappointed he hurt Brady. It would be hard not to. Those feelings did not disappear until he spoke to his former Purdue teammate, Jets tight end Dustin Keller, after the game. As Pollard spoke to Keller, he said he could hear multiple Jets, including New York quarterback Brett Favre, talking about how he did nothing wrong and he had to move on. The remarks helped lift Pollard’s spirits.
Other acts, however, did not. In the past week, some have printed T-shirts that proclaimed, ‘Pollard For President.’ “I want that stopped,” Pollard said. “To me, that’s wrong. Those are Steelers fans, Colts fans, whoever, but it’s still not right. I hope he bounces back quickly.”
Just like Pollard wants that message delivered, he also wants to deliver another to Brady, whom he would like to write a letter or text message. Pollard even has attempted to get the number, but he has only one use for it.
“If I could talk to him, I would let him know I don’t want his number and I never would use it again, but I want him to know where I stand and that I hope he’s all right. I want him to know that regardless of what happened, I am a person who wants good for everybody.”