Re: Steelers' Tomlin backs Harrison suspension
I think it's a sad situation for James but I do believe that his overall outlook and the way he sees himself has a lot to do with why he finds himself in these situations.
I see Harrison as a guy who definitely has a chip on his shoulder and who sees himself as a sort of perpetual underdog. His way of dealing with it is to be aggressive and to develop a reputation as being someone to fear.
This of course has its advantages but it also puts him in a position of having to prove that all the time and he does so by pushing things to the limit. It think he is actually the kind of guy who would set up a practice dummy with a numbered jersey on it as well as a helmet and then practice hitting that dummy as high up on the numbers as possible without clipping the facemask or the helmet.
I also think he knows the rules better than anyone; not because he wants to know how to be a model citizen, but rather to know just how far he can go before he crosses the line.
Living on the edge like that may have advantages in terms of technique or effectiveness as a defender, but it also brings him very close to situations like the one with McCoy. Let's face it, when you push things to their limits, you're bound to run into trouble and he often has done just that. I think he recognizes that and I think he's OK with it - it's the way he likes to play. I also think he's smart enough to know that he will occasionally cross the line and frankly, I think he sees it more as a game of "Chicken" than anything else and I think he actually enjoys testing the limits.
I don't have a problem with any of that but the league obviously does and their idea of limits is not the same as James' and I think James knows that and accepts that. He just has more fun pushing those limits than he would living by them and that's the way he likes it. If he didn't do it that way, he wouldn't be the player he is.
In many ways James is a throwback and probably would have loved to have played alongside Lambert and Ham and I would have loved to see that too. But I don't see him as a dirty player or as someone whose intention is to cause injury. I just see him as a competitor who does whatever he feels he has to do to win and spends a lot of time walking a tightrope to do that. Unfortunately that approach will always cause problems for him.
But speaking as a fan, I wouldn't want him to change a thing or to do it any other way!