Just when you thought that the Pittsburgh Steelers' offseason couldn't get any worse, it just did. First they lose the Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers. Then Rashard Mendenhall decides to stick up for Osama Bin Laden. Then Hines Ward prances around on Dancing With the Stars and gets arrested for a DUI.
However, I think James Harrison just trumped all of that.
Read this interview he did for Men's Journal:
On high and low hits: “I get dinged about three times a year and don’t know where I am for a little minute. But unless I’m asleep, you’re not getting me out of the game, and most guys feel the same way. If a guy has a choice of hitting me high or low, hit me in the head and I’ll pay your fine. Just don’t hit me in the knee, ‘cause that’s life-threatening. How’m I going to feed my family if I can’t run?”
On the 2004 season: “I should have another ring. We were the best team in football in 2004, but the Patriots, who we beat during the regular season, stole our signals and picked up 90 percent of our blitzes [in the AFC title game]. They got busted for it later, but, hey, they’re Goodell’s boys, so he slapped ‘em $500,000 and burned the tapes. Was he going to rescind their Super Bowls? Man, hell no!”
On the two interceptions thrown by Ben Roethlisberger in last year’s Super Bowl: “Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the D to bail you out again. Or hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain’t that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does.”
On Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu: “He’s the one guy in football I respect absolutely, ‘cause he’s spiritual and lives it like he talks it. You know, he gets more flags than anyone on our team but never gets fined for nothin’. He’s so polite and talks so softly that he could tell he could tell Goodell to kiss his ass, and Goodell would smile and say thank you.”
Harrison then added this about Roger Goodell; he's 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 wouldn’t do it. I hate him and will never respect him.”
Harrison also called Goodell the devil and a gay slur. How is any of this productive? Is this gonna help end the lockout? Is this supposed to fire up the team? Is this supposed to help the refs take not pay extra attention to the Steelers?
Harrison is one hell of a football player, but he's clearly an imbecile and a thug.
I hate to do this, it pains me because Harrison is a great player. Personally, I think he's the most complete outside linebacker in the NFL. He's been a perennial All-Pro and a Super Bowl champion. I had him in my top 20 players list.
That being said, he's absolutely out of line for all of these remarks. Who the hell does he think he is?
Look, I hate Roger Goodell too. He's an awful commissioner, but you can never call someone that is that runs the league you play in a gay slur, the devil, and say that you wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire.
Now if Harrison gets fined or suspended for these comments, are you going to be surprised? Are you going to stick up for him just because he plays for the Steelers? I know I won't.
I'm even more upset with Harrison for what he said about his quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. He pretty much blamed Roethlisberger for single-handedly losing the Super Bowl, which is ridiculous.
Roethlisberger threw two costly picks, but also threw two touchdowns, and damn near led one of the biggest comebacks in Super Bowl history. Harrison plays on the Steelers’ defense.
Harrison was invisible in the Super Bowl. The defense got smoked by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. They couldn't stop them at all. How about looking in the mirror and realizing that the Packers were just a better team, on both sides of the ball?
Harrison also took a shot at Rashard Mendenhall, calling him a fumble machine. That might be true, and I do agree that Mendenhall's fumble was the most costly play in the Super Bowl; however, your teammate should never say something like that to the media.
As for saying Roethlisberger isn't Peyton Manning, he just gets paid like him: That's funny James, because you're no Lawrence Taylor, you just get paid more than he did. Anyone who calls out a teammate to the media like this is scum. Hines Ward did it and now Harrison, both scum, off the field of course.
I have to say, because Harrison is one hell of a player. But at 33, the Rooneys might not be afraid of releasing Harrison this year, or trying to trade him, like they did with Santonio Holmes. Hines Ward already gets a free pass, shouldn't Harrison be held accountable for his actions off the field? He's clearly a problem.
The funny thing about all of this is Harrison and all of the "yinzers" are going to act surprised when the refs are paying extra attention to this team next year.
I just want to add that the only way I can even begin to try and defend Harrison is this: Some of these questions were loaded.
Harrison wears his emotions on his sleeves and the reporter was asking him loaded questions. "What do you think about those two interceptions Ben threw?" "What about Mendenhall's fumble?"
Loaded questions but that's still no excuse for throwing your teammates under the bus and saying vulgar things to a guy that runs your league.
My worry now is that this will cause a split in the locker room. Defense vs. offense, Ben vs. Harrison. Even Jerome Bettis says he's disappointed in Harrison. Does Harrison care what anyone have to say? I can't imagine.
I also can't imagine how coach Mike Tomlin feels about this. Tomlin had to go through these same kind of dumb talk. Can the lockout end soon so the Steelers and the NFL can have training camp. I know I'll be up at Latrobe this year! Wow.
Who's ready for some football?