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Bernard Pollard: I take pride in hit on Tom Brady

01.19.12 at 5:08 pm ET
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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Bernard Pollard has played in the NFL for six seasons, pretty impressive in a league where tomorrow is promised to absolutely no one. He’s been a starter for the last five, picking up at least 90 tackles four times during that span. And now, in his first season with the Ravens, he’s a single win away from the Super Bowl.

But for most NFL fans — and for all in New England — he’ll be forever defined by one play.

“The hit on Brady,” Pollard said on Thursday. “Look, it’s football, at the end of the day guys get hurt every Sunday. I think the fact of the matter is that in this case it was Tom Brady. Nothing was intentional, nothing was malicious. When that happened, we had other guys go down that day and nothing happened.”

In the season opener of 2008, Pollard lunged at Brady’s knee and hit him with his helmet, tearing Brady’s ACL and ending his season before the first quarter of Week 1 was even in the books. Pollard wasn’t flagged on the play, but the NFL instituted a rule after the season that penalized a player for making contact with a quarterback’s knee.

Brian Waters — a teammate of Pollard’s with the Chiefs in 2008 — said Thursday that Pollard “took pride” in being able to get a hit on Brady that September afternoon.

“I took pride because I didn’t do anything wrong,” Pollard said. “This is a game where anything can happen. I don’t care about recognition, I don’t care about being the face of the NFL, I’m just blessed to be able to do what I do.”

Pollard — who referred to Brady as “Mr. Pretty Boy” on Wednesday — said he’s looking forward to a trip to Gillette Stadium on Sunday. But the reaction from some fans to the hit on Brady was as serious as it gets, according to the veteran safety.

“I’ve gotten death threats, from fans, mail email stuff like that,” Pollard said. “They got my house address, they got the Chiefs facility, it doesn’t bother me at all. It’s one of those things. Fans don’t understand the game. We play this game and put so much into it, and when they see the beloved quarterback go down, no one wants to see it. Nobody wants to see it.”

Pollard said he’s never spoken to Brady, and has no plans to do so.

“I’ve not spoke to him directly, indirectly we’ve spoken through other people,” Pollard said. “If you are asking me if I apologized? No. And I’m not going to apologize for it. It’s football. He doesn’t apologize for throwing the ball over your head, he doesn’t apologize for throwing five touchdowns against you. We don’t want anyone to get hurt, but it’s a rough sport and sometimes things happen.”

As for Sunday’s AFC title game, Pollard — who called Brady the best quarterback he’s ever faced — played the respect card when asked about the New England offense.

“We know the monster we are going against,” Pollard said. “It’s going to be the ultimate challenge.”

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