Sports Illustrated polled 361 players during the preseason in attempt to rank the NFL’s 10 Dirtiest Players. While New England’s Rodney Harrison has only made the Pro Bowl twice in his illustrious career, he was the landslide winner of the SI poll. The Boston Herald’s John Tomase writes that Harrison takes exception to the characterization.

œIt is what it is, Harrison said. œI™ve been in this league a long time. When you™ve hit as many guys as I have, your reputation extends throughout the league.

œDo I take perverse pride in this? Harrison said. œAll I can say is as many guys as say I™m a dirty player, just as many come up and tell me they admire how I play, the hard work, the commitment, the toughness. That™s the pride you™re looking for. I take pride in that.

œBut dirty? I don™t think you guys can look in my eyes and say I™m a dirty player.

Buffalo receiver Lee Evans seconded that. He noted yesterday that Harrison is well-respected because of how hard he plays, but that doesn™t mean guys like facing him.

œHe hasn™t really done anything to me, but I have seen him in at work in some of his dirtier moments, Evans said with a chuckle. œYou can see it on film. It will be subtle, like making a tackle and doing something a little extra after it. You™re getting up and maybe he pushes your face into the ground or gives you a little kick in the back. Just sly stuff that he tries to get away with.

It doesn™t always go unnoticed. Harrison is the most fined player in league history, at more than $300,000 in 13 years. He actually factors disciplinary action into his yearly budget.

œI understand with my reputation and my past that $40,000 or $50,000 a year is relegated to fines, Harrison said. œI just put that money aside. I hope they give it to charity.

For the record, Harrison said he™d cast his vote for Eagles tackle John Runyan, who™s considered a truly dirty, break-your-finger-in-a-pile type.

œI think I™m fair with other players out there, he said. œI realize that after 13 years of however many injuries I™ve seen, I™m more willing to respect a player than take him out. If I have a chance to blow a guy™s knees out, I™m going to hit him up top instead.”

Mark this one down for the history books : there’s a columnist somewhere, anywhere, that would like to hear more from Chad Johnson.