From the sports editor: Former Rider Harmon eyes 3rd Super Bowl with Patriots

Patriots safety and Caesar Rodney product Duron Harmon celebrates after year’s Super Bowl. (TNS photo)

Duron Harmon admits it.

His favorite team growing up was the Miami Dolphins.

“Mom bought me a Dan Marino jersey when I was younger,” said the Caesar Rodney High grad. “So I got that jersey and never took it off.”

Of course, all that changed the day the New England Patriots took Harmon in the third round of the NFL draft in 2013.

Now, after five seasons in New England, it’s hard to imagine the Magnolia native playing anywhere else.

When he lines up against the Philadelphia Eagles in Minneapolis next Sunday, Harmon will be playing in his third Super Bowl.

Among Delaware high school grads, probably only Randy White has played in as many. White, the former Dallas Cowboy Hall of Famer and McKean High product, also played in three Super Bowls.

A 27-year-old safety, Harmon knows he’s already been part of the kind of success that a lot of players can only imagine.

Of course, Harmon is more interested in winning three Super Bowls than simply playing in three.

“It’s not just getting to the NFL, it’s playing in those big games, the huge games and the ultimate game, which is the Super Bowl,” he told reporters this week. “You dream about making big plays in it and you dream about celebrating with your team and getting the win.

“Fortunately, I’ve been able to be a part of two of those. But none of that matters right now. I’m trying to make it three so I’ve got to put a lot of work in these next two weeks, got to break down this team, do all our research, do all our preparation and go out there and play a good football game two Sundays from now.”

In a Patriots’ franchise where coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady own the spotlight, Harmon is hardly a household name. But he’s also grown into a big part of New England’s foundation.

When the Patriots made their historic comeback to shock the Falcons in last year’s Super Bowl, Harmon was given a lot of credit for rallying the troops at halftime. And, after re-signing with New England as a free agent in March, he was named one of New England’s team captains coming into this season.

Harmon, though, also knows that playing for a demanding organization like the Patriots isn’t easy. There’s a price to be paid for all that success.

“Everything we do, everything we sacrifice for is to win,” said Harmon. “Coming here as a young guy five years ago, I just saw how competitive this place was and I just wanted to be a part of it. I did everything in my power to continue to get better and try to make sure that at the end of training camp I’m always on this roster.

“I just love the idea of winning and being a part of something so special here.”

Harmon has grown a lot since he played in his first Super Bowl in 2015.

Being a veteran of the big game, he knows the first big hurdle is sorting out the logistics of getting his family to the Super Bowl.

Harmon’s oldest son, Chris, is six now. While he actually can remember a little of his first Super Bowl when he was three, the younger Harmon is definitely starting to understand more about what’s happening.

“He kind of always knew what was going on,” said Duron. “But I think like right now, actually understanding, knowing the players, coming home talking to him about football, talking to him about Carson Wentz, (LeGarrette) Blount and Alshon Jeffery, it’s cool.

“It’s cool to see that what I’m doing brings joy to his life as well and I’m able to provide for him that way. It’s amazing just to be able to go through this with him because it’s going to be something that neither of us will forget.”

At the same time, the Patriots are Harmon’s family, too.

It’s times like these that really bond the players together. For a dynasty like the Patriots, it’s where they cement their legacies — where they create the moments they’ll be remembered for.

“We really, really look at each other and treat each other as family, as brothers,” said Harmon. “How much time we sacrifice away from our families and how much time we literally spend with each other, it’s really a family. So everybody is close.

“Everybody wants everybody (to do) well and everybody just puts the team first. When you have that type of mindset and that type of characteristic throughout the whole team, it makes it a lot easier for you to win games.”

Is Milstead DSU’s choice?

Rod Milstead

The website Footballscoop.com is reporting that Rod Milstead has been offered the Delaware State football coaching job and is expected to accept it.

The former Hornet standout has been one of the top candidates for the position, which has been open since Kenny Carter was fired when the season ended in November. Carter’s contract officially ends on Wednesday.

Milstead is currently the head coach at La Plata, Md. High. He spent eight seasons in the NFL.

“I don’t think the football program needs to be rebuilt,” Milstead said a couple weeks ago. “I’ve said that several times. The tradition and the foundation have been laid for years from Bill Collick through Al Lavan. I just think we need to do some things to reboot it.

“There’s some things that can be salvaged and I know they will be. The biggest thing is changing the mindset of the young men that are there — teaching them how to win.”

Odds & ends

• Camden’s Edward Moran, Jr. has been chosen as an umpire for Little League baseball’s biggest event. He’ll be one of the East’s umpires at this year’s Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

• The Delaware Interscholastic Football Coaches Association will hold its 14th annual All-State banquet on Monday night at Dover Downs. Among the awards presented at the event are the Division I and II Coaches of the Year awards.

Smyrna High’s Mike Judy has won the last two Division I Coach of the Year awards.

• The Delaware Sportswriters & Broadcasters Association 69th annual banquet, will be held at noon, on Presidents Day, Feb. 19, at the Sheraton Wilmington South Hotel, 365 Airport Road, New Castle. In addition to the John J. Brady Award as Delaware’s Outstanding Athlete of 2017, which will be announced that day, the banquet will honor the state’s Team of the Year, and the winners of the Tubby Raymond Coach of the Year Award, the Herm Reitzes Award for Public Service and the Buddy Hurlock Unsung Hero Award.

Tickets are available at $35 at http://www.delasports.org/

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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