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Old 09-08-2011, 01:25 PM   #1
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Default Harrison is lauded by his teammates

NFL 2011: Misunderstood by many, Harrison is lauded by his teammates
Posted: Thursday, September 8, 2011 8:30 am | Updated: 9:39 am, Thu Sep 8, 2011.
By Mike Bires

PITTSBURGH ó James Harrison knows there are people who donít understand him. He knows there are people who donít like him. He knows there are people who think heís a dirty player. He knows there are people who donít care if heís fined $1 million this season.

But he also knows that none of those people can be found inside the Steelersí locker room.

When heís with teammates and coaches, Harrison is at peace with himself. Football is his safe haven.

Heís a menacing warrior on the field, especially on gameday when he plays outside linebacker with a tenacity matched by few in the NFL. But thatís all part of the makeup of one of the most astounding characters in Steelersí history.

ďJames is just a big kid,Ē tackle Willie Colon said. ďHeís sometimes misunderstood because he does speak his mind. He does say what he wants to say whether itís politically correct or not. But heís a great guy. I mess with him. I joke with him all the time.

ďHeís brash, but at the same time, he always plays his tale off. He plays injured. He puts up big numbers. Heís a leader for that defense. Every time we need a big play, he comes up with one. People just have to give the man his just due. Heís come from the bottom and worked his way to the top, and now heís succeeding.Ē

Harrison is an amazing success story. Heís a native of Akron, Ohio, and the youngest of 14 children in his family. The story goes that he ended up at Kent State rather than at a more prestigious college football factory because he was often in trouble in high school.

Undrafted out of college, he was cut so many times by the Steelers (and once by Baltimore) that itís hard keeping track of how many times he actually was told to move on.

But Harrison never stopped dreaming of playing in the NFL, and his that came true in 2004 after Steelers linebacker Clark Haggans broke his hand while lifting weights just before training camp.

Realizing that the Steelers needed a linebacker in a hurry, Harrisonís agent Bill Parise quickly called to offer his clientís services. Harrison was signed and made the team. Then after three seasons as a backup and special teams whiz, Harrison got his big chance when Joey Porter wasnít re-signed.

Since then, Harrison has played as well as than any linebacker in Steelers history over a four-year period, and that includes Hall of Famers Jack Lambert and Jack Ham.

Heís been to four straight Pro Bowls. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 when he set a Steelersí single-season record with 16 sacks.

ďThe James Harrison story is a neat story ... itís an American story,Ē linebackers coach Keith Butler said. ďThis is what this country is all about. You can start at any level of society and raise yourself up. Thatís what James Harrison did. He did it through hard work. He did it by persevering every time he may have failed.Ē

It hasnít always been a smooth ride.

There was his arrest in 2008 for hitting his girlfriend during a domestic quarrel. There were the four fines levied upon him last year, totaling $100,000, for hits on opposing players that the league office deemed excessively flagrant. And when just before training camp this summer, there were controversial comments made by Harrison in Menís Journal magazine story titled ďJames Harrison: Confessions of an NFL Hitman.Ē In that story, Harrison took shots in several directions, aiming at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews, NFL Network commentators Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison and even teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall for their turnovers in the Super Bowl XLV loss to the Packers.

ďMy rep is James Harrison, mean son of a bitch who loves hitting the hell out of people,Ē Harrison said in Menís Journal. ďBut up until last year, there was no word of me being dirty ó till Roger Goodell, whoís a crook and a puppet, said I was the dirtiest player in the league. If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldnít do it. I hate him and will never respect him.Ē

At the start of training camp, Harrison immediately apologized to Goodell, who in turn didnít punish Harrison for his remarks. Roethlisberger and Mendenhall said they didnít need an apology.

ďYou know, James is off the wall sometimes,Ē wide receiver Hines Ward said. ďBut thatís just James being James. For everything heís gone through in his life over the years, itís hard to explain what heís feeling. I donít know what itís like to travel the path heís traveled to get to where heís at today.

ďIím just happy and honored to be one of his teammates. Heís a great teammate.Ē
Butler and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau agree. They see his work ethic on the practice field and in the weight room. They appreciate his attention to detail in the meeting room where they say Harrison is a real student of the game.

And, of course, they enjoy watching him play on gameday.

ďHeís crazy. Heís out of his mind. He needs therapy. He better check into a psych ward real fast,Ē second-year linebacker Stevenson Sylvester said, tongue-in-cheek, when asked about Harrison.

ďReally, James Harrison is real cool. Seriously, heís a great guy to look up to, especially for a young guy like me, especially when you want to check out how you need to be working and carry yourself as a professional. Heís one of the guys you need to look.Ē

Even a fifth-year pro like Colon looks up to Harrison.

ďHeís one of those guys you always look at to see what heís doing so you can up your game,Ē Colon said. ďSo I love the guy. I think heís awesome.Ē

When asked about everything heís accomplished so far, Harrison chose not to reflect.

ďIím not done yet,Ē he said. ďMaybe Iíll look back at things once Iím done playing. But Iím not there yet. All Iím focusing on is this season, starting with Baltimore.Ē

As far as how heíll approach this season in light of the fines he incurred last year, Harrison said he wonít change the way he plays.

ďAs far as Iím concerned, I didnít do anything wrong,Ē he said. ďIím going to play the game the way Iíve always played.

ďPeople want to look at four or five plays from the 100 or so tackles I made and say Iím a dirty player. I understand that there has to be rules. But Iím not a dirty player. So Iíll going to keep playing the way Iíve always played.Ē

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause and effect, but actually from a non-linear non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey...stuff.

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Old 09-08-2011, 03:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: Harrison is lauded by his teammates

Love the guy he is a great Steeler just wish he would think before he spoke. Either that or not said anything at all.
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Old 09-08-2011, 03:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: Harrison is lauded by his teammates

Who gives a **** who doesn't understand you. And people understand him perfectly. He answers questions with truth when you ask him. I respect him a lot for that because cliche's and all that constant garbage you hear is a waste of time and life.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: Harrison is lauded by his teammates

Who cares what he says or doesn't say. I love it he speaks his mind. He appears to be a great team mate and gives everything he has on gameday.
I'll take that anytime.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Harrison is lauded by his teammates

I like Harrison. He is a great player. I wish more people in this world had the guts to say how they really feel. I mean really who doesn't think the Goodell is a horrible commissioner who talks out of both sides of his mouth. He as bad as most politicians!
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: Harrison is lauded by his teammates

He is a amazing player and athlete. Who cares what he says. Look at the amount of sacks and tackles he has had. Im glad he doesnt play for anybody else he is a beast and a game changer.
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:59 PM   #7

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Default Re: Harrison is lauded by his teammates

The guy is so dedicated to the game....just follow him on twitter...this guy is the first in the building and the last to leave!!
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Old 09-09-2011, 05:14 AM   #8
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Default Re: Harrison is lauded by his teammates

I root for him because of the team...But i could never really respect a woman beater.
Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." - Vince Lombardi
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:09 AM   #9
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Default Re: Harrison is lauded by his teammates

I like my defensive players to have a little bit of nasty in them and he has a whole lot...
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