When James Harrison was in his prime with the Pittsburgh Steelers and still happy to be on the roster, he was a joy to watch. Sadly for many fans, the same cannot be said of television career. From outward appearances, Harrison has revelled in the Steelers dysfunction, using a lot of it to his advantage. With Pittsburgh a constant topic for the national sports talk shows, the former linebacker has become a popular guest thanks to his willingness to share his insights about the Steelers.
Thanks to his good friend and former teammate Antonio Brown, Harrison was able to enjoy some more airtime on Tuesday, appearing as a guest on both Undisputed on Fox Sports 1 and The Herd with Colin Cowherd.
Among suggestions that Brown wanted to have more of a voice within the organization, had issues with JuJu Smith-Schuster winning team MVP and had a strained relationship with Ben Roethlisberger, Harrison struggled to see how AB could remain in Pittsburgh. But as is often the way, he saved his harshest criticism for Mike Tomlin. Telling Skip Bayless on Undisputed:
“I think he’s a good head coach, I wouldn’t put him as great because I feel like a great head coach takes good players and does great things with them. I think he has great players over there and he hasn’t done good things with them this year. With the roster and the guys that he’s had over there, I think they should have been a little further along.”
“My feeling is this. The more control or the more that he has to do with what goes on around there, I feel like the further the team is getting away from the goal of a Super Bowl. I feel like the more he gets his people in place and the more he gets the people he wants there, I feel like they’re getting further away from their goal. That’s just my feeling.”
When it comes to the problems with the Steelers defense, that is also Tomlin’s fault according to Harrison.
“I felt like the Dick LeBeau situation was a move to try and, like you say, get him out of there so Tomlin could put more of his hand into it. Coach Butler, he’s a great coach, but I don’t feel like he’s got, at least from when I was there, he didn’t get a chance to D coordinate and actually do the job. He had it in title.
“Mike Tomlin’s hand is in a lot of that and that’s why I believe you haven’t seen a change on the defensive side of the ball too much other that letting guys go whose contract are up, because he has so much of a hand in that defense.”
Aside from some amusing anecdotes about playing in cold weather or picking up tells from an opposing offensive player, his remarks about the problems in Pittsburgh with Cowherd were basically a shortened version of his comments on Undisputed. Acknowledging Brown had not told him he wanted to leave the Steelers, Harrison still maintained his belief that AB wanted to be playing elsewhere in 2019.
“I sense from everything that I’m reading now and seeing, with the withdrawal of Steelers things from his social media and all that stuff, I would feel that with the interview and what Jerry said, I would think that he wants to get a fresh start somewhere else.”
For those wondering how much longer this torture will go on, it is worth noting that no trades can be officially signed until March 13 at 4 p.m ET at the earliest. So basically, much longer than you can stand hearing about it, and the offseason is barely two weeks old!