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Old 11-09-2007, 05:16 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Some more good info on Harrison


Pittsburgh -- Steelers linebacker James Harrison wishes everybody would just leave him alone.
Since his unbelievable performance in Pittsburgh's 38-7 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on "Monday Night Football," which earned him AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, droves of reporters have been approaching him for interviews at every opportunity.
"Y'all bugging me," he told the crowd around his locker Thursday afternoon as the Steelers prepared to host the Browns on Sunday. "I'm getting a little tired of that."

After most of the reporters drifted away, he admitted, "All this attention makes me very uncomfortable."
When a player has 3? sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception and nine tackles in one game, the attention is inevitable. Of course, that doesn't make it any easier for a private person such as Harrison.
The Akron native who attended Coventry High School and Kent State would like to put it all behind him.
In fact, when his mother was watching replays of the game at his house earlier this week, Harrison complained because he wanted to watch cartoons instead.
"I've seen stuff here and there, but I don't sit there and admire the work," Harrison said.
"It was one game, one week, and right now we're focused on Cleveland. I don't care what happened last week. We're trying to get ready for this week."
The attention has trickled down all the way from Pittsburgh to Akron. Everybody - from his mother Mildred to his former high school coach Mo Tipton to his former athletic director Jon Hibian - has been doing interviews.

"I've spent the past two days answering questions about James," said Hibian, now Coventry's principal.
Mildred Harrison, who attended the game, watched the power bars on her cell phone disappear as relatives and friends checked in to celebrate.
Gary Hutt, Coventry's offensive coordinator who was an assistant coach when James Harrison played there, called Harrison five or six times during the game, leaving a message after every great play.

"I apologized to him later," Hutt said, laughing. "I just couldn't believe what he was doing."
Dean Pees was not surprised. Pees, who coached Harrison at Kent State and is now the defensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, knew Harrison had it in him all along, even if not all of the pro scouts agreed.
"Everybody who came to see him play liked him, but they all thought he was too short at 6 feet," Pees said. "I don't know how tall you've got to be. I think he's a good football player. He's fast, tough, intense, smart. He plays on his feet, doesn't get knocked down very much. I don't know what else you'd want."
Pees wanted more than Harrison's talent, though. He wanted his commitment.
Harrison had already enrolled at Kent State by the time Pees was hired in late 1997, and Harrison's football future was at a crossroads. The youngest in James and Mildred Harrison's blended family of 14 children, Harrison had been a star from the moment he started playing Pee Wee football at the age of 8. When legendary Orrville coach Mo Tipton was hired at Archbishop Hoban, James Harrison Sr. took his son to the school and told Tipton that he wanted his son to play for him. The incoming freshman made quite a first impression by leveling a star senior during a one-on-one drill the first day.
A year later, Tipton agreed to help rebuild the Coventry football program, and Harrison followed and excelled as a running back, linebacker and punter.
Off the field, life wasn't always easy. As one of a handful of African-American students in his school and conference, Harrison endured taunts and didn't always react well. He made some poor decisions, one of which cost him the final game of his senior season, and was involved in what Hibian referred to as "pranks," including a much-publicized incident in which he shot a BB gun and injured a classmate.

Asked how he would describe his high school days, Harrison paused for a moment and said: "Everything happens for a reason. It was what it was. It wasn't a great situation. It wasn't a real bad situation. Some things happened that you just had to deal with. Some decisions I made I had to live with. Everything that happens to you makes you who you are. It's either going to make you a better person or worse.
"Fortunately for me, it made me better."
Not immediately. The hijinks probably cost him a chance for a scholarship at big schools such as Nebraska and Ohio State, so he walked on at Kent State. When Pees met Harrison, the coach told him he would have to work a lot harder and rededicate himself to football and athletics.

"To his credit, he came around," Pees said. "By his senior year he was captain of the team, which was quite an accomplishment coming from where we started."
Pees recalls the final game of the 2001 season, against Ben Roethlisberger and Miami of Ohio. Kent was 5-5, trying to finish with a winning record for the first time in ages. The Golden Flashes had a 24-20 lead, but Miami had the ball and was driving with about 20 seconds left.
Pees took a timeout and told Harrison to rush off the left side.
"I told him the whole season was riding on that play - and him," Pees recalled. "He sacked Roethlisberger before he even had the ball up to his waist."
Harrison held on, and so did Kent.
It has taken some time for Harrison to be able to showcase those talents again. Undrafted coming out of college, he was signed and cut twice by the Steelers and once by the Baltimore Ravens, who sent him to play with Dusseldorf in NFL Europe.
He was picked up by the Steelers at the start of training camp in 2004 and has played as a backup and on special teams, moving into the starting lineup this year after Joey Porter's departure to the Dolphins.
Harrison finally burst into the spotlight Monday night in a game that won't soon be forgotten - no matter how much he'd like it to be.
"Nobody really knew he could play as good as he did Monday," Steelers linebacker James Farrior said. "But now he let the cat out of the bag, and that's what we're going to look for every week.

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Old 11-09-2007, 05:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: Some more good info on Harrison

He looked very uncomfortable walking into Martino's on draft day. He had that steely stare on his face and seemed a bit unapproachable at first.......but then he loosened up and was really a friendly guy. My hubby is 6' 6" tall and when James saw him, he hopped up on chair so he'd be the taller one!

I'm thrilled for him with his success.......nice job, Silverback!
"We're not going to turn our backs on him," Ward said. "We're going to treat him like our brother. We're going to accept him back and be very supportive of him and help him get through this. In this locker room, he's still our quarterback."
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Old 11-09-2007, 05:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: Some more good info on Harrison

Here's another good article I just found in my e-mail.......


Sweet revenge for Harrison
Porter?s successor, cut by Baltimore, becomes one-man wrecking crew

By MATT PAWLIKOWSKI, Correspondent
Intelligencer Journal

Published: Nov 09, 2007 1:19 AM EST

PITTSBURGH - They honored a player from Kent State on Monday night, as Jack Lambert was named part of the 75th Anniversary team for the Pittsburgh Steelers during halftime ceremonies at Heinz Field.

But it was another product of the Ohio school, current Steeler linebacker James Harrison, who made fans do a double take, as he played against the Ravens with a passion not seen in these parts since the days of Lambert and the Steel Curtain defense.

All Harrison did was force three fumbles, record 2? sacks, intercept a pass and recover a fumble. Pretty impressive figures but even more impressive considering it all happened in just one half of the Steelers' 38-7 victory.

"It was great opportunity to showcase whatever it is that I could bring to the team," said Harrison. "In front of those guys, on Monday Night Football, it was great."

Harrison, who is in his fourth year in the league, finished the game with nine tackles, 3? sacks and three forced fumbles. He is now fourth in the AFC with 6? sacks and first on the Steelers with 41 unassisted tackles.

While most players would bask in the limelight after a night like he had against Baltimore, not so for the shy and soft-spoken Harrison, who drew a huge laugh with his comments after being asked about it by nearly 30 reporters crammed around his locker afterward.

"A game like this, makes me not want to have a game like this," he said with a huge smile.

Yet while Harrison is a man of few words, and would rather defer the attention to others, his teammates weren't shy to talk about him, and his efforts on Monday.

"I think it's great what he did," said All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu." During the game you're just happy that you get the sacks or a fumble. However, afterward to find out it was him the whole time, it's really special, especially the circumstances he was under."

Polamalu was referring to the fact that Harrison was cut by Baltimore and also released by the Steelers early in his career before being counted on to fill the void left by free agent Joey Porter, who was also named to the 75th Anniversary team.

While there was talk during training camp that some of the rookie acquisitions might pick up Porter's slack, Harrison has all but quieted any critics, especially with his effort against the Ravens.

During the Steelers' first defensive series Harrison pressured then sacked Steve McNair, forced a fumble and recovered the ball at the Baltimore 20. It set up short yardage for the Steelers, and Ben Roethlisberger connected for the first of five first-half touchdown passes.

"We all knew he could play," said nose tackle Casey Hampton. "I think the Steelers knew he could play, and that's why they made the move and let him get his opportunity. He works hard for everything he gets, and we're excited he's a part of the team."

On the defense's next series, Harrison pummeled Ravens return man Ed Reed on a punt return and knocked the ball right into the arms of linebacker Lawrence Timmons. That set up yet another Steeler score.

"I've never seen anything like it," said outside linebacker Clark Haggans. "You see something like when you're playing a video game. They should have put him in on offense and let him run the ball or throw a touchdown. It was something down the road where I can tell my son I played with this guy and he did all that in one game."

Largely because of Harrison's play, McNair set an NFL record for futility, with the least yards passing in a game (69) with at least 13 attempts.

"He was just dominating; it was fun to watch," said former Manheim Central standout Dan Kreider. "When a guy plays like that it just motivates you more to go out there and play harder."

Asked if he'd ever had a game like this before, Harrison said there was one in high school where he had more than 300 yards rushing. But suddenly he was quick to quip about a game he had while at Kent State.

"I had a pretty decent one against Ben (Roethlisberger) and had about four sacks against him. I forgot about that one," he said smiling. "(Roethlisberger) knows that, that's the joke we have, if it wasn't for me, he wouldn't have even made it to this league!"

While Harrison's play against Baltimore was eye-popping, there was one moment in which he didn't get a sack or interception that stood out, his body slam of Reed. It brought back memories of when he tackled a fan who ran on the field in Cleveland last year.

"There is no correlation there, one was in the game, one was out," said Harrison, who grew up in Akron, Ohio. "One was just something to do, a Cleveland fan, and the opportunity to slam him, you have to take it."
"We're not going to turn our backs on him," Ward said. "We're going to treat him like our brother. We're going to accept him back and be very supportive of him and help him get through this. In this locker room, he's still our quarterback."
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Old 11-09-2007, 05:43 PM   #4
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Default Re: Some more good info on Harrison

I don't really mind him being a private person. I think it's better for intimidation. Like the guy never talks, but you'll be feeling his bruising the next day.

I'm glad he's steppin' up in the absense of Porter though! Good job Silverback!

Edit: I love the qoute about slamming Browns fans! LOL
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Old 11-09-2007, 06:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: Some more good info on Harrison

Quiet Intensity. The exact opposite of Joey Porter.

Harrison should be the prime example that you don't need a mouth to be a great LB. Just take care of business with your play. Great job, Silverback.
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Old 11-09-2007, 06:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Some more good info on Harrison

im really glad that he's not letting all this fame go to his head... it shows he knows what he's doing... and doesn't make brash guarantee wins like ahem ahem someone we all know
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Some more good info on Harrison

Here's an oldie but goodie:

Harrison dresses in the near corner of the locker room and he’s in his chair. He’s seated, but bending over and untying his shoes. Practice had just ended and that’s when the locker room heats up. Most reporters ask their questions before practice. The players are more pensive then. But after practice the pads are coming off, the kickers are throwing balls around, the players are happy, loud.

Um, James, I’m doing something on Joey’s cover about being the most feared man in the NFL.


Yes, that’s an all-caps scream. He wanted to make sure I heard him because he wasn’t going to sit up until he completed his task.

James, I’m wondering what some of the other linebackers think.


Well, what do you think about him being named the most feared man in the NFL?


Um, I thought you might receive some consideration for that.

Haha. I love his responses.
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: Some more good info on Harrison

That’s the first thing I noticed after his huge game Monday night. "It's just one game" he repeatedly told the sideline reporter. He honestly believed it too. Had Harrison gotten 20 sacks I have a feeling he would be acting the exact same way.
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Some more good info on Harrison

James Harrison definitely seems like an introverted type of guy....I remember during the interview after the game, when he first started talking his voice was shaking a bit
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:30 AM   #10
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Default Re: Some more good info on Harrison

I hope that game wasn't a fluke and he can continue to make that type of plays for the rest of the year.
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