FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots gets tackle by Bernard Pollard #31 of the Baltimore Ravens during their AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Three times over the past four years, current Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard has been a nightmare for the New England Patriots. A story by Joe Sturzi in the University of Maine student newspaper, The Maine Campus, writes about how Pollard has done serious damage to three key players on the Patriots, regardless of what uniform he is wearing at the time.
The story surmises that perhaps the New York Jets have "commissioned" Pollard to work his "magic" on their AFC East rivals, but if that were the case, why didn't the Jets jump all over Pollard before the Ravens signed him as a free agent just before Training Camp opened in late-July of last year? Rex's loss was the Ravens' gain.
Pollard's first transgression was as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. His knee-high tackle of New England QB Tom Brady, tearing his ACL and ending his 2008 season. With the Houston Texans, his mere presence forced Patriots WR Wes Welker to abruptly change direction to avoid the big hitter and tear his ACL as well, eliminating Brady's favorite receiver.
This past year, in the AFC Championship Game, Pollard dragged down TE Rob Gronkowski from behind, leaving Gronk with a high ankle sprain that definitely seemed to affect him in the Super Bowl, limiting him to only two receptions for 26 yards. None of Pollard's tackles were flagged, as they were all legal and his reputation of laying to wood to opposing ball-carriers was part of the reason the Ravens saw him as a great complement to All-Pro free safety Ed Reed.
The Ravens host the Patriots in the 2012 regular season, so he will have another chance to impose his physical will on them once more. While no one, including Bernard, ever wants to see a player injured, Ravens fans love to see the way that Pollard "brings the wood," which leads to the saying that Bernard Pollard "plays like a Raven."