The pure hatred of Titans (and former Chiefs, Texans and Ravens) safety Bernard Pollard is typically reserved for just fans of the New England Patriots. He was the guy who hit Tom Brady on the knee, ending his 2008 season. He also hit Wes Welker, causing an injury, and I'm sure Bostonians are requesting court orders to keep him within 500 yards of Tuuka Rask right now as well.
Pollard, unceremoniously cut by the Ravens after winning a Super Bowl last season, is now on his fourth NFL team since coming into the league in 2006. Usually, when a player with decent skills, like Pollard, plays for that many teams, there are a few red flags that accompany that reasonable talent.
In his case, it has to be related to his mouth.
Pollard joins the floundering Titans and has already proclaimed his team's goal of winning the Super Bowl (Tennessee hasn't been to the playoffs since LenDale White stomped on the Terrible Towel in 2008), but now, he's ensuring the discomfort of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
"Our goal is the Super Bowl, and our mission is to kill," Pollard told The Tennessean this week. In fact, the newspaper reported Pollard has these goals written in his locker.
And "Kill" has an exclamation point after it, so he doesn't just want to end lives, he wants to end them with emphasis and flair.
I've more or less made fun of the seriousness in which the league now takes hyperbolic statements that suggest hitting players in the course of playing football is akin to Demolition Man's Murder/Death/Kill law, but only a guy like Pollard has the limited foresight to post something like that publicly. While I enjoy his boldness, especially in wake of the ridiculousness of Bills defensive end Mario Williams' paraphrasing of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's message to his team, this kind of thing just makes you shake your head.
Still, there are those who believe in Pollard. In case you didn't know of it, Pro Football Reference - an outstanding resource for all things NFL-related - allows fans to sponsor the player pages of former and active players. Written on Pollard's:
"Words cannot express how much Bernard Karmell Pollard has impacted the lives of those of us who believe in fair play and equality. He is a true football hero that should someday be enshrined in Canton. Thank you."
No, thank you. The thought of Bernard Pollard wearing a gold jacket and giving a speech gave me a great day-starting laugh.
To Pollard's credit, I thought he was a Pro Bowl-level player last year, even with somewhat limited coverage skills. He plays the run ferociously, and is one of the few safeties who still play with that old school intimidating presence. It was a tough AFC for competing safeties, but he'll improve the Titans' sagging secondary.
And since his first game to back up talk of making a run to the Super Bowl and killing people is against Pittsburgh in Week 1, I figured it was worth mentioning.