View Full Version : Silverback

11-17-2008, 01:16 AM

Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison is the best defensive player in the NFL.

Now that I have your attention, let's ask Harrison what he thinks.

That's right, the same James Harrison who wasn't drafted out of Kent State in 2002. The same James Harrison who was released by the Steelers three times. The same James Harrison who watched and learned behind Joey Porter before finally receiving his opportunity at stardom.

"I feel like I am," Harrison said following Sunday's 11-10 win over the San Diego Chargers when asked if he's playing better than any defensive player in the league.

"I think my play should speak for itself."

Loudly and clearly.

Harrison may be second in the NFL in sacks, trailing Porter, now with the Miami Dolphins, but Harrison is the best player on the league's top-ranked defense who has nearly twice as many tackles as Porter.

Yesterday, Harrison finished with four tackles, one sack that resulted in a safety and an interception deep in Steelers territory that ended a San Diego threat late in the first half.

Without Harrison's safety and interception, the Steelers lose -- pure and simple.

"James Harrison continues to make splash play after splash play; he is one of the main reasons we were successful today," coach Mike Tomlin said.

The Steelers don't normally talk contract with their players during the season, but they should make an exception with Harrison, who is in the third year of a four-year, $5.5 million contract that is well below market value.

Considering that Harrison likely will be named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons as a starter, the Steelers should tear up his old deal and sign him to a new one ASAP.

"Oh, man. I really can't say enough about the guy," defensive captain James Farrior said of Harrison. "I got a lot of respect for the guy, not for what he's doing now but where he came from. He started out at the bottom. He was a rookie free agent when he first got here. He got cut three times, went to a couple of different teams, came back and stuck with it.

"You can just see in his eyes the determination he plays with. I think he holds that in the back of his head, all the stuff he went through to get to this point."

Harrison came up big twice in the second quarter. On third-and-9 from the San Diego 3, Harrison beat the blocks of two players to drop quarterback Philip Rivers for his 12th sack of the season.

Not only did Harrison's sack cause a fumble, he also tackled offensive lineman Marcus McNeill, who recovered the fumble in the end zone, for a safety.

"They had the tight end, and the back tried to give me a little bump. He tried to chip, and I ended up going around him. (Rivers) held the ball too long," Harrison said.

"When you single block him, he's going to cause something to happen," Farrior said. "You can't block him with nothing but linemen, and there'd better be two of them."

On his interception, Harrison said he was surprised Rivers threw the ball with Harrison standing so close by.

"I didn't think he was going to throw it, considering I was already out there. I thought he would throw it a little wider, but he threw it straight to me," Harrison said.

Harrison galloped 33 yards to the Steelers' 43 with 1:23 left before halftime. His interception set up a 21-yard Jeff Reed field goal that sliced San Diego's lead to 7-5.

Harrison was directly responsible for five points. It's difficult to imagine the Steelers pulling out their one-point win without his two big plays.

I would love to see Harrison on the team next year, esp to help tutor young Woodley. The Steelers are known for not extending contracts of older players, but they recently re-signed Farrior, so it may be likely Harrison will return. He's a warrior.

11-17-2008, 02:40 AM
I'd love to see Harrison back to but will we be able to afford him? It seems to me that the plan that the front office has would be to play both Woodley and Timmons.Given that we need to do something with our line I'm not sure we can. If we got the free agent route for the O-line as many want us to it's going to cost us big time.

It would be a real shame if we can't keep Harrison. His intensity reminds me of Lambert and higher praise I can not give.

11-17-2008, 02:51 AM
i dont think many people realize he is actually 30 years old. with that said, i dont see why he wont be able to dominate for the next 4-5 years.. he possess a unique combination of size and power.. size in that he is small enough to run right under the 6-5 tackles, and strong enough that he can bull rush them. porter is still getting the job done, as is farrior.

11-17-2008, 03:37 AM

He is 30, with only a year and a half of football damage to his body since 2002.

I think he will be signed, probably to a 3 year contract.

Galax Steeler
11-17-2008, 04:35 AM
I would hate to see him go but hopefully we will find a way to resign him to atleast a 3 year contract he is to good to let go.