This mini-article is inspired by the video you will see shortly. In it, James Harrison comes clean, as only he can, as to how he feels about three of his former coaches—Bill Cowher, Mike Tomlin, and Dick LeBeau.
It's hard to see how anyone could have a bad word to say about LeBeau. Anything I've ever heard or read from those who have played for him is not only positive but glowing.
In 2010, at my first Steelers event, here's what I noted Brett Keisel had to say about Coach LeBeau:
...[E]very morning LeBeau bounds into the room and says "Good morning, men - it's a great day to be alive." He says that Coach LeBeau never yells or puts you down. But if he thinks you aren't giving your best effort, he has a look that makes you wish you hadn't disappointed him. He feels that Coach LeBeau has been one of the biggest influences in his life.
How about Steve McLendon? When the defense was criticized after a slow start to the 2012 season, and some were stating the game had passed Dick LeBeau by, McLendon said this:
"It's just like somebody talking about your pops. So you just want to go out there and show them that pops is a great guy..."
As this AP story by Will Graves notes,
...he's still preaching the virtue of doing things the right way.
To LeBeau, that means being a teacher instead of a taskmaster. It's why he doesn't lose his temper when things go wrong, unless you count getting angry at yourself.
"I learned better when people didn't holler at me," LeBeau said.
Cortez Allen told Rachael Jones of Whirl Magazine
LeBeau welcomes each player with open arms, genuinely caring for each one. "We've been away for a long time. It's not just, 'Hey, how are you doing?' He gives you a hug and asks about things going on in your life."
So how could anyone say something bad about someone like that? Well, I'll quit with the tabloid-style buildup and admit that Harrison didn't, in fact, say anything bad about LeBeau. The few words he did say spoke louder than the most elegant prose.
Here's the video: