View Full Version : Notebook: Something special in store for Harrison?

11-06-2009, 05:54 AM
Notebook: Something special in store for Harrison?
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By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
Friday November 6, 2009 12:07 AM

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers’ kickoff coverage team may have a new addition, but it won’t be Anthony Madison.

Don’t be shocked if James Harrison makes his debut Monday when the Steelers play the Denver Broncos.

Before becoming a starting star linebacker two years ago, Harrison was a special teams phenom. There have even been instances over the past two years when Harrison has asked, and been granted, permission to cover kicks.

Since the Steelers have allowed kickoffs to be returned for touchdowns in each of their last two games — first by Cleveland’s Joshua Cribbs, then by Minnesota’s Percy Harvin — might Harrison volunteer this week?

“James does it every week,” special teams coach Bob Ligashesky said. “He’s a team guy — whatever we need, whenever we need it.”

Harrison has yet to cover a kick this year. Considering his importance to the defense, it seems like a risk for him to play on special teams. Then again, he keeps asking to do it.

Will it happen Monday in Denver?

“I guess you’ll have to find out, right?” Ligashesky said.

Meanwhile, Ligashesky wouldn’t bite when asked if the Steelers may be interested in signing Madison, a cornerback who played three years in Pittsburgh primarily because he did an outstanding job covering kicks.

“We coach the guys we’ve got here,” Ligashesky said.

Madison’s name surfaced this week after he was cut by the Cleveland Browns.

Madison played for the Steelers from 2006-2008 but was cut in early September. He later wound up in Cleveland, where he played in four games. MUNDY MONDAY?

There’s a chance that Ryan Mundy will make his first career start against the Broncos.

With Ryan Clark doubtful because of past health issues after playing in Denver, Mundy could start at free safety.

Thursday at practice, one of the Steelers’ defensive backs said it’s his understanding that Mundy — and not Tyrone Carter — will take Clark’s place.
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“Nobody has told me anything yet,” said Mundy, a former WPIAL star who played at Woodland Hills. “But if that is true, I believe I’m ready.”

Clark has been practicing this week, but it’s hard to imagine him playing against the Broncos.

As a sickle cell trait carrier, Clark became seriously ill in 2007 after playing in Denver. He eventually had to have his spleen and gall bladder removed.

Mundy is a second-year pro who was drafted in the sixth round last year.


The Steelers will have their third different starter at left defensive end.

Travis Kirschke, who had started the past two games in place on the injured Aaron Smith, missed practice Thursday and has been all but ruled out. Kirschke has not practiced since tearing his calf muscle in the Oct. 25 win over Minnesota.

That means Nick Eason will make only the fifth start of his seven-year pro career.

“I want to play. I’m hoping I can play. But it takes some time for (his calf) to heal,” Kirschke said. “Typically it’s anywhere from three to six weeks.”

Smith is on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.


Even though he expects to play in Denver, inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons missed his third straight day of practice this week. Timmons suffered a sprained ankle in the win against the Vikings.

Because the Steelers don’t play until Monday, they have an extra day of practice this week. If Timmons can practice today, his chances of playing against the Broncos improve.


One of the starting defensive ends in the Broncos’ 3-4 defense is Ryan McBean, the Steelers’ fourth-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.

Meanwhile, the Broncos’ punter is Mitch Berger, a journeyman who spent most of the ’08 season with the Steelers.

11-06-2009, 06:31 AM
Wouldn't surprise me at all to see Harrison on ST's in Denver. Hell - if he wants to do it, why not let him? His presence on that unit could definitely help. :thumbsup:

As far as signing Madison - I think it would be a good move but it seems pretty obvious that the Steelers aren't headed in that direction which is cool beans.

11-06-2009, 08:48 AM
As a coach, I have always advocated the best players , particularly linebackers should be on kick off cover teams. A big play from that unit can create havoc on the opposition. Harrison was always a great cover guy, there are times during the season where you need to make a statement on special teams. This is one of those times. A big hit or forced turnover here could very well create the momentum that Denver wouldn't be able to come back from. Especially if Royal is hit hard.

11-06-2009, 08:52 AM
With Harrison's great ability to strip away the ball and cause a fumble (wish he'd teach this more to younger players), I'd love to have him in there. What a team guy-can you imagine someone like Chad Johnson (I refuse to call him his stupid ocho cinco name/hopefully he gets traded where the jersey 85 is retired) But can you imagine Johnson or TO being asked to play special teams......LMAO....No chance!

Angus Burgher
11-06-2009, 09:27 AM
Yes, this sounds like a good idea... Harrison is a beast and we need better coverage on special teams.

However, if they do put him on ST... DON'T let him play long snapper again! :banging:

11-06-2009, 04:40 PM
O say we keep Harrison on the D fresh for running back 100-yd interceptions. Also reduces his risk for injury. Sign Madison for cheap to take the hits. I wouldn't put a $50 million man on STs.

11-06-2009, 04:57 PM
I havent been watching Mundy lately at all this year. Anyone know how he has been doing for us? :noidea:

11-06-2009, 05:31 PM
ST was much better when Harrison was on it.

11-06-2009, 09:04 PM
I say let James put the spark on the ST. Just as long as he doesnt tire on the defense to much. He's faster than most people think and he has the attitude to do it. Did you ever see him drop back into coverage? You see him on a play and wonder how in the hell did he get into that coverage that quick, its almost like he mocks Troy....LoL

11-08-2009, 10:33 AM
How do you say no to James Harrison :chuckle: Actually I think getting Andre Frazier back on special teams while not be big, but IMO will help somewhat. The only thing that scares me with the Broncos is Eddie Royal on special teams. I don't want to see us lose with Royal beating us by giving them big returns.

11-08-2009, 11:13 AM
O say we keep Harrison on the D fresh for running back 100-yd interceptions. Also reduces his risk for injury. Sign Madison for cheap to take the hits. I wouldn't put a $50 million man on STs.

"..... James Harrison don't take the hits.....


..... James Harrison DELIVERS the hits!!!!!"


They can't stop the man when 2 players line-up, directly-across from him, without holding him:
what are the Yoncos gonna do when this tornado-on-legs has a 30 yards running start, use a bazooka?

11-08-2009, 02:05 PM
The second he gets hurt I can't wait to hear all the, "what a stupid move that was to put Harrison on ST" comments.

I think it's a dumb move and I am stating it now. Why risk your all pro starting LB on ST? When he gets hurt (god forbid) or becomes just to run down at the end of the season (begining of the playoff, if we make it that far) then you will all be saying why was he on ST anyways.

There is a reason teams don't have there star starters on ST.

11-09-2009, 02:23 PM
Personally I don't like the risk of putting him on ST. Not only on the injury front, but you're also asking the guy to sprint down the field to cover kicks and then immediately go on defense and expect him to go 100%.

I don't doubt his conditioning, but we all saw him almost die after his interception return in the superbowl...LOL. (Just picking on ya James)

Then again, ST is a major factor in a game. Need to make sure we get the stops and stop handing people easy points.