PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 09: James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers watches warm ups prior to the game against the Tennessee Titans on October 9, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Post-Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette wrote an insightful piece on Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison, who may miss his second consecutive game Sunday as he continues to recover from knee surgery Aug. 15.
Harrison told Bouchette Thursday, ""I'm great, I'm full go, I'm playing on Sunday. Run it." To that, he added, "I've been known to lie."
Regardless of what he says, he didn't practice again Thursday, lending more fuel to the speculative fire he won't play against the Jets in Week 2.
According to his teammates, it's not sitting well with the former Defensive Player of the Year.
"He's not a happy camper," LB Larry Foote said.
"I can't imagine how much it's bothering him," nose tackle Casey Hampton said.
"I know it's tearing him up," cornerback Ike Taylor said.
It seems like an obvious opinion to have - a longtime starter being frustrated by not being able to play isn't exactly breaking news. It brings up a separate point, though.
How frustrated are Foote, Hampton and Taylor? This defense just simply isn't as good without a healthy Harrison in the mix. While LB Chris Carter has shown improvement from last year, it's obvious the void Harrison leaves within this defense is nearly insurmountable.
Bouchette points out Harrison missed five games last year - four due to injury and one due to suspension - and the Steelers won four of those games. Those four games were against Jacksonville, Tennessee and Arizona. They lost against San Francisco when he served a one-game suspension.
The Jets may not be the 2011 49ers, but they're not the 2011 Jaguars, either. His presence will definitely be missed for as long as he is out. That puts even more pressure on the rest of the defense, who have to be only just a little less frustrated one of their best teammates is unable to get on the field.