What was once viewed as the high-class franchise of the NFL and having no nonsense owners in the Rooney’s, the Steelers have sure had their share of problems over the past couple seasons. We all know about Ben Roethlisberger’s situation in Milledgeville, Georgia and the trade of Santonio Holmes after his “wake and bake” and “kill yourself” tweets. After overcoming the odds last season and making it to the Super Bowl, who would have thought that this offseason would be filled with more controversy.
First, Rashard Mendenhall took to Twitter after the killing of Bin Laden to make his controversial remarks. “I’m not Muslim, but I believe in truth” “How can we celebrate the killing of someone” “We never got to hear him (Bin Laden) speak and we only know one side of the story” and “I find it hard to believe that a plane alone could take out both of those buildings”. Hines Ward turned himself into household name outside of the football world with his victory on Dancing With The Stars, but then just last week, was arrested for D.U.I. in Georgia.
While Ward has been the hot topic since Saturday morning, he has one man to thank for keeping his name out of the spotlight — James Harrison.
This morning, quotes from Harrison’s upcoming interview with Men’s Journal (on newsstands Friday) hit the internet and has had everyone talking about the remarks he has made (and picture in the magazine above). Last year, Harrison was fined over $100,000 for hits that were deemed illegal hits, the most a player has ever been fined in a single season. Harrison showed his disapproval for the fines and commissioner Roger Goodell and even threatened retirement last season. He made sure that he made his feelings known once again about the commissioner, but this time, he didn’t just go after the commissioner, but also his teammates.
“My rep is James Harrison, mean son of a bitch who loves hitting the hell out of people. But up until last year, there was no word of me being dirty — till Roger Goodell, who’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,” Harrison told the magazine.”I hate him and will never respect him.”
Harrison went on to call Goodell “stupid” “devil” “dictator” and anti-gay slurs.
Wonder what Harrison would have told Goodell if they would have won the Super Bowl this past year?
According to Harrison, he would have said, “Why don’t you quit and do something else, like start your own league in flag football?”
“I slammed Vince Young on his head and paid five grand, but just touched Drew Brees and that was 20,” Harrison said. “You think black players don’t see this s–t and lose all respect for Goodell?”
“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,” Harrison told the magazine.
Harrison went on to criticize former players Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi calling them both “clowns” and saying that Brian Cushing is “juiced out of his mind.”
If this didn’t leave Steelers fans hoping he didn’t open his mouth, the criticizing of teammates sure rubbed them the wrong way. Harrison said that Mendenhall is a “fumbling machine” and then went on to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for his performance in the Super Bowl loss.
“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,” he said, referring to Roethlisberger’s two interceptions in the game.
What do the Rooney’s do in this situation? We’ve seen them make examples of players like Jeff Reed, Cedric Wilson and Holmes, but for the once no nonsense Steelers, they are looking more like the Cincinnati Bengals of the league. Do they make an example of Harrison and cut him? He makes around $9 million per season or do they keep him and go against their morals because he is a good player? Because it is a lockout, any possible fines or suspensions would have to be given directly by the Steelers and not the league for Mendenhall, Ward and now, Harrison.
Harrison was accused of domestic abuse charges, but they were dropped in April of 2008. Harrison’s girlfriend didn’t want to press charges anymore and he had to complete anger management classes. Cedric Wilson got in trouble for the same thing, except his altercation had witnesses. Even though Harrison admitted to it, he was kept on the team and Wilson was released. Will Harrison’s talent continue to keep him on this team despite him being a clubhouse cancer? In my opinion: yes.
I’ve made no secret in the past that I don’t agree with Harrison and I think he is a dirty player. Any player that says they like to hurt other players and rips his boss and teammates, I have a problem with. With the three offseason controversies, Steelers fans want nothing more than the lockout to end and have the attention shifted to the game on-the-field, not off.
About the Author
Written by Michael Waterloo
I'm currently pursuing my Master's degree in Communication and Journalism from Clarion University. I currently work for Ohio Valley Athletics where I serve as the West Virginia Football Beat Writer and cover West Virginia Men's Basketball as well. I'm a big Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers and Oregon Ducks fan. Follow me on Twitter at @MichaelWaterloo or visit www.ovathletics.com