James Harrison: Mad man or madman?

Welcome to our latest edition of “They said what?!?” and folks, this one is a doozy.

It’s safe to assume that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is not on James Harrison’s Christmas list.

In a recent Men’s Journal interview, superbly written by Paul Solotaroff, the oft-fined Steelers linebacker quipped “if [Goodell] was on fire and I had to piss on him, I wouldn’t do it.  I hate him and I will never respect him.”

Now, we football fans have already struggled through a summer-long lockout, living in constant fear a football-less winter.  All we want is a little love, no more discord (unless it comes in the form of a bone-crushing tackle), and certainly no pee talk.

Nobody’s all that fond of Goodell to begin with, but for Harrison to say he wouldn’t pee on him?!?  First of all, I’m not entirely sure the Commissioner is flammable (although he is looking a little formaldehyde-y these days), and second of all, if he were on fire, it’d probably take a little more than a stream of pee, even Harrison’s super pee, to extinguish the flames.

Last year, the league (Goodell) fined Harrison a total of $100,000 for what they deemed violent hits, yet Harrison, along with many others, including the referees who didn’t flag those tackles, felt they were perfectly legal.  It caused healthy debate last season, and into the summer, on whether league penalties are greater if a player is injured as a result.

Harrison’s comments caused quite a stir.  On the bright side, it stopped us from talking about the lockout for a minute, even though I’m not sure urine talk is a step in the right direction.

And now we have Harrison, who has gone from being the edgy player we all felt was unfairly targeted, to the very possibly crazy guy we wouldn’t be shocked to find with his own reality TV show in 18 months.

Harrison has called the Commissioner a “punk,” a “dictator,” and even went so far as to say his fines were racially biased.  Harrison also said he’d like to meet former Patriots-turned-ESPN-analysts Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi in a dark alley after they called him the dirtiest player in the league.

So, mad man or madman, or a little bit of both?  Solotaroff does an outstanding job of allowing the reader to decide for himself.

Harrison embodies the Pittsburgh Steeler persona yet one can only assume he’ll become, if he hasn’t already, the NFL’s version of Rasheed Wallace, where a mere glance in the wrong direction warrants another fine from the league office.

All I know is I enjoy watching Harrison play the game.  He’s one of those guys you want on your sideline and Steelers fans are more than happy to have him there.  Playing in another uniform at this point just wouldn’t make sense.

He’s one of the few players in the NFL you feel compelled to watch every down.  And I’m not just saying that because I fear there may soon be a knock on my front door.

Knock knock.

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37 Replies to “James Harrison: Mad man or madman?”

  1. It’s going to be interesting what the league will do with his comments. It’s like the tree falling in the forest scenario. If he says things while the players aren’t certified, does it mean he even said it? You can’t discipline an employee that wasn’t really an employee at the time, but maybe the NFL can since they aren’t your everyday monopoly…

  2. I’ll take Harrison on my team any day of the week. Wish the Chargers could acquire a guy like him. (But hey, the Bolts now have a 34 year old Takeo Spikes so they are going all the way to the SB!)

  3. It’s unfortunate that James Harrison never got the chance to sit down and try to hold a conversation with the likes of either Mike Webster or John Mackey ! Then his dumb a_s would comprehend the horrors of what multiple concussions , the onsets of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can do to a former player and how it actually affects their cognitive skills . Perhaps then he would begin to understand the dangers besides the cause and effect . But I digress because Goodell , the league’s own medical counsel and owners have always been in denial on the issue . So what else is there left to be said on the matter ? I mean former union chief Gene Upshaw summed it up best …….” I simply care about the current players playing in the NFL not the veterans ” !

    So much too for the idiots out there who feel that the game should be played with reckless abandonment !

    If Peyton does become the NFL’s first $20 million a season player then what does that say about the supposed lockout or the ignorance of the team owners who stated they wanted to show fiscal responsibility ?

    Perhaps we ought to have the owners work in conjunction with the Congress on the debt ceiling debate ?

    tophatal ………..

    tophatal ……………

  4. You know how I feel about the guy, look at the uni he’s wearing. Wonder how much he made for that interview. Hope he’s through venting for awhile and his technique improves this year…GO STILLERS!

  5. Good analogy, Chap.

    Or maybe the NFL just wants to sweep those comments under the rug and pretend they never happened. I’m guessing that issue of Men’s Journal isn’t sitting on a coffee table outside Goodell’s office.

    I wonder if Harrison’s agent told him that, if he were ever going to say something derogatory about Goodell, the lockout would be the time.

    I’m guessing no fines will come from this yet the league will keep a close eye on Harrison all season.

    They were going to already.

  6. I wouldn’t pee on this blog if it were on fire, but then again, that would mean peeing on my own computer.

    Unless of course I can read it at your house.

  7. Are we to expect another frustrating year out of your Bolts, Drew?

    One where either they run through the division and fall short in the playoffs, or start slow, come back to win the division and still fall short in the post-season.

    That division ain’t gettin’ any easier.

  8. Here’s a beautiful excerpt from the article, Al…

    “we’ve indulged a certain hypocrisy regarding pro football’s gilded mayhem. We know that players we’ve loved and lived through are damaged by the collisions, but we don’t wring our hands or click the games off, as we’ve largely done with boxing. Instead, we cheer hits we can feel in our molars, playing the best back in our heads and on our laptops like backyard wrestling fanboys. We want it both ways, the blood and the beauty”

    Harrison’s an old school guy and he plays an old school way. As we both know, the league is currently in a quandary about how to manage these types of hits and still maintain its brutality.

    In that respect, I feel for the league’s policy makers. It’s a fine line they walk between keeping the sport’s integrity and ensuring its players don’t get killed.

  9. I make James Harrison 2-1 favorite over the ESPN football retirees Rodney and Teddy. Oh, that’s 2 against one. Mano/mano JH 7-1 versus either.

    Listen they said John Stockton was the dirtiest NBA guy. Where did that get him? Springfield.

    If any fines are to levied, Goddell should give them to his weekend warrior refs. No flag? No fine. Players have a way of policing there own game. If JH is dirty……….they wudda took care of him themselves. FU Goddell

  10. RB…

    I usually don’t be heavy favorites moneyline like that but that might be a bet I’d take.

    Good point on Stockton, but I think if you threw him into the mix with Rodney and Tedy, the line wouldn’t move all that much.

    And an interesting suggestion about the no flag/no fine policy. But then again, that would mean admitting their officials actually make mistakes.

  11. The Steelers are becoming the new Raiders, a role that their ownership does not exactly embrace.
    Stay classy James, because what comes around goes around.

  12. Chris

    I personally think that the NFL and union have been oblivious to this issue down the years ! You know I’ve written about this on a number of occasions and the mere fact that there have been studies conducted on this from various sources that are well respected (Yale , Stanford, BUMC , John Hopkins ) but yet the league has come up with the insanity that their medical advisers have come up with different findings . I guess those professionals are about as insightful as the idiots in Congress dealing with the debt ceiling debate !

    The league’s biggest concern should be safety of the players and the product placed on the field of play . As for James Harrison he’s simply trying to one up an a_shole like Ray Lewis after his rant about the fans running amok should the lockout have continued .

    Is it me but are the Rays having real problems in terms offense and defense ?

    Here’s something that most fans haven’t taken to is the very fact that the union and league had the details sealed of the agreement that they reached with the veterans in light of the $ 1 billion set aside for the players in question. Funny the loss of players recently of Forrest Blue and John Mackey but yet no one seems overly concerned over the conditions that they died under in an assisted living facility . In the case of Mackey he was a drooling vegetable with dementia , as was the case with Blue . Never mind the fact that Mackey’s benefits were about to cut off by the union .

    So you tell me who what it is it that the NFL has really achieved for these players upon their retirement ? There have been over 13,000 players who’ve retired from the game of which well over 6,000 plus of them are fighting the league for proper benefits . The league and union set the criteria that a player has to have played a minimum of 4 years before they qualify for the benefits but what happens about the player who barely lasts a season and half and who has succumbed to a career ending injury ? This is so asinine to begin with and that’s what the league and union should be ashamed off !

    tophatal …………

  13. Chris

    So Reggie Bush has agreed to be traded to the Dolphins ? The last time something like this happened didn’t it involve the “pot head” known as Ricky Williams ? Thankfully we didn’t get to see Payton dress up as groom with Bush as the bride ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

    With this happening what does that mean for fins’ fans in Miami ?

    Have the Rays fallen off the face of the planet as of late ? God they can’t buy a hit …… much the pitchers pitch with any degree of consistency .

    So Barrett Ruud is no longer a Buc but Aqib Talib is still viewed a valuable commodity by Rah’ and Mark Dominik ? WTF !

    tophatal …………

  14. The NFL has integrity ? When did that actually happen ? The NFL may well have about as much integrity as the legislators up on Capitol Hill …. so I’ll let you be the judge of that !

  15. Reggie to Miami? Whatta bad move for South Beach. From carpet to grass makes Reggie an average untility player.

  16. Aer…

    Another interesting point.

    I wonder if Tomlin will give Harrison a good talking to going into the season, or whether that will even matter.

  17. Al…

    You and I both feared that the health of the players, and the veterans, would be one of the biggest issues glossed over during the lockout.

    Both sides sped talks up to give us a season with little, that I’ve heard of, concern for that particular issue.

    I’m not sure where the answers lie but I can tell you they don’t lie in skirting the topic entirely. What would Gene Upshaw do?

    And um…. why are we still talking about the Rays exactly?

  18. Al…

    I’d say the Ricky Williams-Miami experiment was a success, considering all the speculation that went into that signing. We’ll see what happens with Reggie Bush.

    The Saints weren’t going to pay him what he wanted but there had to be someone out there that would. Enter Miami.

    At least he won’t be the only underachieving athlete to take his talents to South Beach.

    Watching him travel to frigid New York and New England in December should be a real treat.

    Re: Ruud and Talib, we both knew Ruud wasn’t going to be re-signed. He came with too heavy a price tag. As far as I understand, the jury is still out with Talib.

  19. RB…

    We’ll see about Bush. Like I mentioned above, I wanna see him travel to New York and New England in below freezing temperature.

    That should be fun.

  20. Chris

    The NFL are like the dumb _ss legislators in Congress and the Senate damn clueless !

    Williams a success in Miami ? How so ? Two forced retirements from his weed use both times seeking to avert the league mandate suspensions . And then he comes up with the bs ’bout it having to do with his bi-polar disorder . How ’bout Williams manning up and looking after his kids rather than
    acting like an as_hole !

    Bush talked his way out of New Orleans with his arrogance . He did little by way of productivity with the team during his tenure there .

    Talib has been offered a new contract by the organization .

    Well I felt talking Rays would be like chicken soup for the soul ? I mean you were the one so high on them at the start of the season after the signings of Damon and Man-Ram ? Now what ? We’re going to talk ‘needlepoint’ or about the night life in downtown Tampa ?

    I hear Belichick’s next reclamation project will be to sign both Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan with Dr Phil being there to provide on site consults and advice .

    tophatal …………

  21. Harrison should take some 411 from another sport and a couple of players who had the rulebook ammended because of the way they played.

    Marty Brodure of the New Jersey Devils was such a threat at playing the puck behind the net that the league instituted areas of the ice that were OFFLIMITS for the goalie. Take it as an insult? Or that your game was so good that they had to create a rule to even the competition?

    Sean Avery who stood in front of the opposing goalie waving his arms and creating such a distracting screen that the league created the “Avery Rule” to thwart it.

    So Harrison is a total beast and he hits opposing players like he’s getting paid big coin to do. As time goes on, we’ll all remember that the league cried foul when he played above and beyond the level of play of all the other defenders in the league. Just like LT, Lambert, Butkus, Lott, Lynch, he’ll be forever honored by joining the elite defenders in water-cooler conversations everywhere. He just doesn’t realize it yet.

  22. RB…

    From all the Dolphins I’ve talked to, and that’s a few (pour souls), I can tell you they’re ecstatic about bringing in the former Heisman winner/current Heisman re-gifter.

    That’s okay. They have to have something to cheer for, right?

  23. Williams isn’t the first professional athlete to bail on his responsibilities, Al, and he won’t be the last.

    Nobody’s debating whether or not he failed to live up to his expectations. Obviously, he did. But after returning from suspension, he did rush for nearly 1200 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2009-10.

    Sheen and Lohan to the Pats, huh? Interesting.

  24. Frank…

    That’s exactly my point about Harrison and I highly recommend reading the Men’s Health article if you haven’t already.

    I’d guess Harrison’s kind of stuck in limbo these days, between people who love him and hate him. I wouldn’t say he’s nearly as polarizing as LeBron, and he did finally come out and apologize to the Commish for his comments, as ordered by Coach Tomlin.

    It’ll be interesting to see how vocal he is this season. Will he pipe down, a la Mark Cuban in the playoffs, or will he sound off the first time he’s hit with a fine?

  25. Harrison is an ingrate ! He now gives what can only be described as a profuse apology knowing full that he had not done so his a_s would have been shown the door by the Rooney family . He says that his words were taken out of context and misconstrued ? In what way ? He clearly targeted Goodell and several of his teammates so how can it be taken out of context ? Another reason why NFL players are often better seen on the playing field rather than being heard !

    tophatal ……………

  26. T…

    That is certainly one perspective.

    I’ve been working my tail off lately and didn’t get a chance to see that hit he laid on Colt McCoy but I heard it was a doozy.

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