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Patriots’ Justin Herron honored by Tempe police after stopping assault

Justin Herron (left) and Murry Rogers (right). (Twitter Photo/@TempePolice)

It’s not every day that a civilian plays the role of a police officer, especially an NFL player.

New England Patriots offensive tackle Justin Herron and Murry Rogers were honored by the Tempe Police Department on Wednesday for aiding in the halt of an attempted sexual assault in a park on Saturday.

The two men were given an “Outstanding Citizen” certificate by the department at a news conference.

“We are here to honor two good Samaritans that intervened during this vicious attack and detained the suspect until police could arrive and make sure that he was taken into custody,” detective Natalie Barela said at the news conference.

“If not for the swift actions of Mr. Justin Herron and Mr. Murry Rogers, this vicious attack could’ve been much worse.”

Herron said he reacted after hearing screaming in the park.

“You see it in movies and TV all the time, but you never think it’s going to happen in real life until it does,” he said. “In that moment, I was in shock. … It was 11 a.m. in the middle of the day, not one cloud in the sky and in a very open field. The fact it happened there, at that time, was very shocking.

“In the moment, I wish I could tell you what I was thinking. I just knew someone just needed help. All I could do was just rush myself over there to make sure I could help the victim and make sure I could comfort her and be the best person I can be.”

Barela added that the victim experienced “a significant amount of trauma, but she is working through some of these things and physically doing OK.”

Herron also attributed his 6-foot-5, 305-pound stature as a helpful contributing factor.

“I’m a football player, so I’m kind of big,” he explained. “I try not to be too aggressive with people knowing I could potentially hurt somebody. I do have a very loud voice, so all I did was just yell, tell him to get off her and then yanked him off.

“And I told him to sit down and wait until the cops come.”

Authorities said “there was not a dry eye in the room” when the victim met with Herron and Rogers after the incident.

“The impact they’ve had on our victim’s life — these two individuals stepped forward and truly saved her life,” chief Jeff Glover said.

Herron has been training in Arizona ahead of the 2021 NFL season.

He was selected in the sixth round out of Wake Forest in the 2020 NFL Draft and played in 12 games for the Patriots last year (six starts).