Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Harrison Let Steelers Teammates Down

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Harrison Let Steelers Teammates Down

Article excerpt

Something doesn't make sense here.

On one hand, you have New England Patriots linebacker James Harrison (that doesn't sound right) telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac he was promised 25 percent of the snaps at outside linebacker this season.

On the other, you had linebackers coach Joey Porter telling the Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette - way back on Aug. 14 - that Harrison would be nothing more than a "safety net" and that starters Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt would "just play until they're tired. . But to be honest going in, we have two young first-rounders who shouldn't be tired."

That doesn't sound like a 75-25 plan.

If Porter was that up front regarding such a legendary player, referring to Harrison as a "relief pitcher," how could it be that Harrison was receiving a totally different message behind closed doors?

Regardless, here we are, nearly five months later, left to pick up the debris after Hurricane James swept through the Steelers locker room Wednesday, even as Harrison himself was getting initiated into Camp Belichick.

As I sift through, I'm left with the belief that these statements can be true:

* The Steelers made a mistake letting Harrison whine his way out of town. That is bad policy. They wouldn't let Martavis Bryant do it. Don't be surprised if Harrison makes a big play or two in New England.

* Tomlin coddled Harrison too much, and if you believe Harrison, anyway, misled him on prospective playing time.

* Harrison absolutely tarnished his Steelers legacy, not by signing with the Patriots but by being a selfish teammate, quitting on his team and quitting on a season in which he still could have aided a Super Bowl run. That's if you believe some of his ex-teammates, including Maurkice Pouncey, who positively destroyed him Wednesday.

Several ex-teammates, including Pouncey, spoke respectfully of Harrison over the previous three days. But it seems some combination of seeing him land in Foxborough and seeing the Steelers portrayed as unethical villains - how dare they treat a franchise icon this way! - prompted several to speak out.

Dupree said on his radio show Wednesday night on 93.7 The Fan that Harrison skipped meetings and practices - "We really don't see him at meetings," he said - and was basically a fraud when it came to upholding the Steeler tradition of older players mentoring younger ones even if the younger ones were taking their jobs.

"We tried to give him a chance to be the leader, the person the Steelers portrayed him to be," Dupree said. "He really wasn't willing to share wisdom, share knowledge with you. . He didn't want to do anything that made us better. I tried to let him be my mentor. It didn't work."

More damning was this tweet from the Post-Gazette's Paul Zeise, who co-hosts the Dupree Show: "Dupree said Harrison would leave the stadium as soon as he found out he was inactive the past four or five weeks. …

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