Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison has never shied away from talking about his former teammates and coaches, sometimes critically. So it’s worth noting when he’s rather diplomatic about things.
That was his reaction to chatter about Ben Roethlisberger as a leader, with Harrison saying Monday that he found the quarterback to be “a good teammate and a good leader.”
This was James Harrison comment on Ben Roethlisberger from @TheHerd show today— "The people that are saying he's a bad teammate, that's their truth. For me, I think Ben is a good teammate and a good leader."
— Bob Pompeani (@KDPomp) March 25, 2019
If this seems diplomatic toward all sides, it’s probably because it is. Harrison defended Antonio Brown, too, and Brown has been very critical of Roethlisberger’s leadership. Harrison has a problem with coach Mike Tomlin, but it doesn’t appear to extend to his former teammates, even those who are at odds.
Antonio Brown could see his tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers come to a sour note the same way James Harrison’s did last year, so it is no surprise the former linebacker is going out of his way to support Brown amid a flurry of criticism.
While Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was holding a press conference on Wednesday to address some of the issues surrounding Brown and the team, the star wide receiver appeared on Harrison’s Instagram story and the two teased an upcoming “exclusive” interview.
Antonio Brown about to have an "exclusive interview" with former #Steelers LB James Harrison. [Via Instagram]
James Harrison has been highly critical of Mike Tomlin.pic.twitter.com/uZhLDXliHr
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 2, 2019
We’re still waiting on that interview, and it may never actually happen. However, Harrison did take to Instagram again on Thursday to write a lengthy post supporting Brown.
“(Antonio Brown) is my brother – that means family – and to me, a family member is not defined or measured by the deeds they do, the title they hold or the company they work for,” Harrison wrote. “My love and support for my brothers/family doesn’t stop when I disagree, argue or fight wt them. The fact that I consider you family means just the opposite, I’m there for you. And I’m allowed – not just allowed – I’m EXPECTED to be there for you and to give you my opinion whether you agree or disagree. And I expect you to give me yours as well. Why is AB hanging wt James Harrison? The same reason that Brett Keisel, Ike Taylor, Ryan Clark, Larry Foote, Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu, DeAngelo Williams, Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams, and others do… These are my brothers, and brothers shoot the s—!”
The fact that Brown was hanging out with Harrison and essentially bragging about it confirmed what we already knew — that Brown and Tomlin are at odds. Pittsburgh waived Harrison last year, and the longtime Steeler ripped Tomlin and the team for misleading him about what his role would be. He then signed with the rival New England Patriots and continued trying to make Tomlin look bad after he retired.
For what it’s worth, Brown is reportedly having issues with some of his current teammates in addition to Tomlin. If players are choosing sides, it sounds like they are not all taking Brown’s.
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward has had it with a prominent former teammate taking shots at coach Mike Tomlin in the media.
Former Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison, who played 14 seasons with the Steelers, said on FS1 Thursday that Tomlin deserved the blame for Pittsburgh’s potential playoff absence, arguing that the coach failed to make the most of a talented defense. Heyward wasn’t having that narrative.
“Right now, he is a mouthpiece. That’s it,” Heyward said, via Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “I couldn’t care less what he thinks. I don’t really care what James thinks right now (because) he’s not in this locker room and he’s not going to help us win if we talk about him.
“(Harrison) is the one bringing it up; nobody else is even talking about it. What’s his beef with him?”
His beef likely goes back a year, when Harrison had a rather spectacular falling out with Tomlin and the Steelers over what he perceived to be broken promises about his playing time and usage. He ended up joining one of the team’s rivals, the New England Patriots, and has used media appearances to be publicly critical of Tomlin ever since. This looks like another instance of him having an axe to grind.
James Harrison said some things during an interview on Thursday that won’t sit well with Pittsburgh Steelers fans.
Harrison, who played his entire career with the Steelers before joining the Patriots midway through last season, says New England’s coaching is better than Pittsburgh’s. Harrison made his comments during an appearance on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.”
“The only thing that’s really opposite is that in New England, it’s more regimented, it’s more disciplined,” said Harrison. “The coaching is better, to be honest with you. The plans they put together are better. And they don’t ask their players to do anything that’s outside of the realm of what they feel their capabilities are. So when you do that, and you switch a lot of players in and out for certain things that you want to get accomplished, you get things done and that’s what they have over there.
“I wanted to hate [Tom Brady] so bad, playing against him all those years and him getting the better of us for the most part of them, I wanted to hate him … I feel like [the Steelers system] needs to be more disciplined…”
"It's more regimented. It's more disciplined. The [Patriots] coaching is better to be honest with you. The plans they put together are better."@jharrison9292 on the differences between the Patriots and Steelers pic.twitter.com/bGW2Ej7uYa
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) July 19, 2018
That’s a huge endorsement for New England’s coaching staff, and it further explains why the team has been so successful under Bill Belichick. Especially consider that Harrison was a tough critic too because he entered the situation viewing the Patriots as a rival, as they had been for him his entire career. That makes his remarks carry even more weight.
The 40-year-old announced his retirement from the NFL and would probably have success with a career in broadcasting or coaching. We know one thing he probably won’t be doing in retirement — watching Steelers games.
James Harrison was able to contribute down the stretch for the New England Patriots last year despite rapidly closing in on his 40th birthday, and he could almost certainly find a team to sign him this offseason at the right price. However, he has decided to leave football in the rearview.
Harrison announced in an Instagram post on Monday that he is retiring. He indicated that spending more time with his family played the biggest role in his decision.
“I’ve missed way too much for way too long…and I’m done,” Harrison wrote. “Many thanks to my family, coaches, the fans, and everyone who played a role in my football life.”
Harrison spent 13 of his 15 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but his tenure with the team came to an ugly end last season when he was hardly getting any playing time and was eventually released. He then signed with the rival Patriots and ripped the Steelers with some harsh comments on more than one occasion.
For his career, Harrison totaled 84.5 sacks, 34 forced fumbles and 573 solo tackles. His best season came in 2008 when he had a whopping 16 sacks and seven forced fumbles, and he was one of the main reasons Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl that year.
- James Harrison
The best players in sports don’t always have the highest salaries, and the Super Bowl is no different. For every Fletcher Cox, Alshon Jeffery and Stephon Gilmore making the big bucks, there are guys who made about $10 million less per year and still make a huge impact. For some of those players, big paydays will be coming this offseason. For others, being a bargain is part of what makes them so great.
Here are the 10 players from Super Bowl LII who are the biggest bargains for their team. All salary figures come courtesy of Spotrac.com.
10. Trey Flowers, DE, Patriots
Base salary: $615,000
Cap hit: $754,733
On a team that struggles to get to the quarterback, Flowers has emerged as the best pass-rusher. A fourth-round pick in 2015, Flowers sat out his entire rookie season with an injury but has consistently produced since. He had 6.5 sacks in the regular season this year after piling up seven a year ago, and he added two forced fumbles and 45 total tackles in 2017. He also helped stuff the run late in a comeback win over the Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game. If New England wants to make Nick Foles uncomfortable early on Sunday, Flowers may be the guy they look to.
9. Ronald Darby, CB, Eagles
James Harrison and Danny Amendola decided to have some fun before appearing at Super Bowl Media Day on Wednesday.
The two New England Patriots players swapped jerseys, supposedly at Amendola’s suggestion. Naturally, Harrison was bursting out of Amendola’s jersey like it was a size smedium.
James Harrison is wearing Danny Amendola's jersey: "He wanted to see what it's like being me, I wanted to see what it's like being him." pic.twitter.com/rSr8EYIGx3
— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) January 31, 2018
Amendola was almost swimming in Harrison’s jersey:
Danny Amendola comes to media interviews in James Harrison’s jersey. “It fits me nicely,” he jokes. “He’s one of my favorite players.” pic.twitter.com/qZi5QvtyQ1
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) January 31, 2018
Who wore it better?
Come Sunday, the players better hope there’s not a case of missing identity going on and that both play like the Patriots expect them to. They don’t say “do your job” for no reason around New England.