New Orleans Saints SS Roman Harper not dirty, it’s just gamesmanship
That negativity was also on display again in the last game of the season when the Panthers came to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. There is clearly no love lost between those two.
Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings also leveled the dirty claim against Harper.
Harper uses some old school tricks in his approach to the game. These things are designed to do two things.
1. To establish dominance in the game get inside the offensive players.
2. To get the offensive player incensed so that maybe they will lose their cool and get a penalty (see Brandon Pettigrew in the Week 13 matchup against the Detroit Lions).
As Harper makes a tackle, he may use the tackled player’s body to help him get his balance as he stands back up.
Or he may get up and walk over the tackled player as he leaves to go back to his defensive position.
He’s been seen to tackle harder than others. He may take a second longer to get up off of an opponent after a tackle.
All these things are perfectly legal, and they are gamesmanship moves designed to irritate his opponent.
Laying on your man a little longer also keeps him from getting an extra breath.
It’s pretty tough to breathe with a person leaning on you. That type of thing will wear a player down by the 4th quarter and that player may be a step slower due to it.
Or he may get tired of it and push or throw a punch late in the game costing his team yards, or worse points. They are subtle moves but obviously effective.
Harper has been in the middle of several incidents this year where there have been yards lost and/or punches thrown.
Yeah, he gets his share of the penalties too, but the bottom line is that the Saints are winning.
And on top of the winning, for all that his peers dislike him for, he’s consistently in the conversation as one of the top strong safeties in the NFC.
They may not like Roman Harper, but they can’t deny his success.