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Old 12-13-2008, 07:57 AM   #1
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Default Harrison making career out of big games vs. Ravens

Harrison making career out of big games vs. Ravens
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...RIXKQD951GMIO0
By ALAN ROBINSON 12 hours ago

PITTSBURGH (AP) James Harrison is making a career out of tormenting the Baltimore Ravens, crowding a season's worth of statistics into each game he plays against them.

The Ravens talked this week of needing to account for the Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker on every play, if only because they already know what happens when they don't.

Last season, Harrison had 3 1/2 sacks, forced three fumbles, recovered one and had an interception as the Steelers beat Baltimore 38-7 a game that proved important to them winning the AFC North title.

After the Ravens' Trevor Pryce predicted he would never play a game like that again, Harrison had a similar performance with 2 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble that was returned for a touchdown during Pittsburgh's 23-20 overtime win over Baltimore on Sept. 29.

"Actually, stuff like that motivates me," Harrison said. "It makes me want to prove somebody wrong."

By now, the Ravens (9-4) understand that Harrison, third in the NFL with 15 sacks, is as capable of turning a game as any player on the Steelers' offense.

"When I hear what somebody tells me I can't do, it drives me to want to do it even more to prove them wrong," Harrison said.

Just as Harrison wanted to show the Steelers he could play in the NFL despite not being drafted out of Kent State and getting cut three times by them. He was cut by the Ravens, too, after being assigned by them to NFL Europe four years ago.

Still, Harrison said he doesn't derive any extra satisfaction from his big games against Baltimore in part because the Steelers haven't won there since 2002.

Pittsburgh (10-3) can wrap up the AFC North and a first-round playoff bye by ending that streak Sunday. If the Ravens win, they would tie for the division lead and, with some help, could qualify for the AFC playoffs.

"As far as trying to prove something to the Ravens, just the Ravens, it's not my point," Harrison said. "I'm just trying to do the best I can and prove anybody that thinks I couldn't do it wrong, that's all."

Having Harrison around two years ago allowed the Steelers to release Joey Porter, one of the leaders of their Super Bowl-winning team during the 2005 season. Porter signed a big-money deal with Miami and now leads the NFL with 16 1/2 sacks.

Harrison, who did not start until last season, is a major reason the Steelers' defense is having one of the best seasons by any team since the NFL merger in 1970. The Steelers lead the league in rushing, passing and overall defense and in fewest points allowed.

"He has great work ethic, both on the field and off," coach Mike Tomlin said. "He's got great football character. When you put those things together with a guy being given an opportunity, it just warms your heart to see a guy take advantage of it."

Harrison's steely glare and edgy attitude don't generate much warmth from opposing quarterbacks.

"They have some guys who can really play well," Baltimore's Joe Flacco said of a defense that is led by Harrison, outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (11 1/2 sacks) and safety Troy Polamalu (7 interceptions).

And to think Harrison went through being snubbed in the draft and being cut four times by two teams to get on the field. Maybe that's one reason he still plays special teams; he is third on the team with 12 tackles in the kicking game.

"I watch him week in and week out, and he does pretty much the same things every week," Tomlin said. "It might not appear that way to (the Ravens), but he's been very consistent in his play."

If the Steelers have been inconsistent, it's been on offense, where the team ranks in the bottom third of the league. Yet Harrison said that doesn't drive the defense to play even better.

"We don't really feel like we have to do anything because our offense isn't or is doing something," Harrison said. "We try to stop the other team from scoring. If we're able to do that, it doesn't matter what our offense does because you can't win if nobody scores points."
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Old 12-13-2008, 08:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: Harrison making career out of big games vs. Ravens

I like this man more & more.
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Old 12-13-2008, 10:54 AM   #3
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Default Re: Harrison making career out of big games vs. Ravens

i wonder what finally clicked 4 this man, what he changed to get to this point and what not... i mean there was a reason 4 getting cut all of those times
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Old 12-13-2008, 12:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: Harrison making career out of big games vs. Ravens

And I expect another big game for Harrison tomorrow. He will have a big impact on this game.
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Old 12-13-2008, 12:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: Harrison making career out of big games vs. Ravens

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyoder6 View Post
i wonder what finally clicked 4 this man, what he changed to get to this point and what not... i mean there was a reason 4 getting cut all of those times
Maybe he just never got a shot? Or the staff was afraid he was going to hurt somebody? haha

Either way, I'm glad hes playing with us rather than against us tomorrow.
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Old 12-13-2008, 12:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: Harrison making career out of big games vs. Ravens

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyoder6 View Post
i wonder what finally clicked 4 this man, what he changed to get to this point and what not... i mean there was a reason 4 getting cut all of those times
I suspect he was as much a quiet enigma in mediocrity then as he is in stardom, now.

Whereas some players might have made a better case for themselves in saying the right things to the coaches, talking about room for improvement and making a plan to get there, he's always been more of a "shat happens" and "this is what I've got, take it or leave it" kind of player.

After thinking about it since 2005 (honestly), that's the best guess I have as to why he was undrafted and cut so many times. He's a monster, and everyone around him has known it since that time. Like I said, Cowher even traded lightly around the guy, which boggled my mind. The same guy who would get in Greg Lloyd's face walked on eggshells around Harrison.

He's a different sort of player to get accustomed to, and from a team perspective, you have to assess how coachable a player is early-on, I suppose. I don't know, but I've been more thrilled watching him for the last 2 years than just about any Steeler in recent memory.
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Old 12-13-2008, 01:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: Harrison making career out of big games vs. Ravens

Cut by Kent State multiple times, never really stuck in NFL Europe, cut again....

now possible defensive player of the year.

what an awesome story.
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Old 12-13-2008, 01:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: Harrison making career out of big games vs. Ravens

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankie3521 View Post
Maybe he just never got a shot? Or the staff was afraid he was going to hurt somebody? haha
That was my first theory
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Old 12-13-2008, 01:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: Harrison making career out of big games vs. Ravens

I look forward to seeing him torment the Rats some more.
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Old 12-13-2008, 01:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: Harrison making career out of big games vs. Ravens

In my opinion he is a modern day throw back player. Completely old-school and the modern day coaches didn't know how to handle that type of player.
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