James Harrison has never been one to hide his feelings. He became famous this past season for being heavily fined due to some hard hits that were deemed helmet-to-helmet. I was with Harrison when he was exclaiming that the NFL was getting too ticky-tacky, and was hurting the spirit of the game. However, Harrison’s latest flurry of comments has alienated me and likely many of his supporters, not the least of which may be in his own locker room. In an interview in Men’s Journal magazine due out Friday, July 14, Harrison went off on everyone from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the New England Patriots, Ben Roethlisberger, and Rashard Mendenhall.
Here’s a quick summary of James Harrison’s comments (my thoughts are in italics):
On Roger Goodell…
- “…up until last year, there was no word of me being dirty — till Roger Goodell, who’s a crook and a puppet, said I was the dirtiest player in the league. If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it. I hate him and will never respect him.”
- Harrison also believes that Goodell and his executives are conspiring against the Steelers, who, have “too much force, too much swag, and are predominantly black.” A racism charge? Seriously??
On Clay Matthews…
- “Clay Matthews, who’s all hype — he had a couple of three-sack games in the first four weeks and was never heard from again — I’m quite sure I saw him put his helmet on Michael Vick and never paid a dime. But if I hit Peyton Manning or Tom Brady high, they’d have f****d around and kicked me out of the league.” Clay Matthews is all hype?? Ask coaches who game plan for him every week if he’s “all hype.”
On his own teammates…
- On RB Rashard Mendenhall: “fumble machine”
- On QB Ben Roethlisberger: “Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the D to bail you out again. Or hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain’t that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does.”
On the Patriots…
- “I should have another ring. We were the best team in football in 2004, but the Patriots, who we beat during the regular season, stole our signals and picked up 90 percent of our blitzes. They got busted for it later, but, hey, they’re Goodell’s boys, so he slapped ’em $500,000 and burned the tapes. Was he going to rescind their Super Bowls? — man, hell no!” Obviously he’s referring to SpyGate and that somehow the Pats got all of their blitz calls and adjusted in the AFC Championship game. Sure buddy.
- “I hate those motherf—–s, especially those two clowns who talked about me after the fines. Sayin’ I’m dirty — sh!t, Harrison was the dirtiest player ever, a steroid cheater who was known by the whole world to be a headhunter and late hitter. And Bruschi’s an idiot, straight-up simple. I’d like to meet them both in a dark alley.” Really classy. Bruschi was out there on the field making defensive calls and adjustments with Mike Vrabel. But yeah, he’s simple.
So there you have it. I strongly suggest that you read the entire piece to get a full glimpse into Harrison’s psyche. Rodney Harrison responded to James Harrison’s comments:
I think he loses respect in that locker room because guys look at him and say, ‘He’s a defensive leader, he’s a guy that we’re supposed to trust.’ But all of a sudden, he’s going behind their backs, talking in an interview about his quarterback and his running back.
If you’ve got something to say, say it to those guys’ faces, but don’t go behind your guys’ back. How can I trust you, how can I line up next to you if you’re stabbing me in the back? I think it’s a deep-rooted, internal feeling that he has. Somebody really needs to check on him. Maybe those hits to the head are really affecting him now.
I think somebody from the Pittsburgh organization needs to sit this guy down and say, ‘Shut up and play football. Play football better.’
I think James Harrison has taken this thing way too far. He certainly does need to be sat down and spoken to by someone in the Steelers organization before he goes even further and gets hurt or faces more permanent discipline from the league.