When I saw the news of James Harrison meeting, and eventually signing, with the Patriots, a strange anger came over me. This wasn’t about the X’s and O’s, fairness to a player or even about the potential story lines which could impact the website I run.
No, this anger was just as a fan.
I couldn’t believe Harrison would leave for the Patriots, of all teams, after publicly denouncing them on more than one occasion, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Joey Porter.
When Harrison made Porter expendable, Porter had his share of teams who wanted his services. No, Porter wasn’t 39-years-old, but when the Ravens and Bengals inquired, Porter told them both no. Why? Because he was a Steeler and couldn’t fathom playing Pittsburgh twice a year.
He settled for the Miami Dolphins.
Porter’s legacy never changed in the Steel City, and he has even returned to be the current outside linebackers coach for the Steelers.
But back to the question at hand. Will Harrison’s departure for New England stain his legacy? If social media is any indication, then it absolutely will. If you ask me, it all depends on how the rest of this 2017-2018 season pans out. For instance, if the Patriots are somehow upset in the divisional round of the AFC Playoffs, or if Harrison rarely plays for New England, it won’t matter much. It would essentially be the same backlash as Harrison playing for the Bengals.
However, if Harrison is a fixture on the defense, and makes plays enroute to a rematch with the Steelers, the vitriol will flow like never before in the city of Pittsburgh. Harrison wouldn’t be the first beloved Steeler to play elsewhere towards the end of his career. Joey Porter, Chad Brown, Franco Harris, Plaxico Burress and many others have done so, but Harrison’s selection of new team could certainly top them all — by far.
What say you? Will this tarnish a tremendous career with the Steelers?
Time to check on some of the awesome content outside the walls of BTSC:
That Steelers win over Houston on Christmas Day was like the Starbucks gift card of Secret Santa gift-giving.
Utterly forgettable and devoid of thought. Yet completely practical, and you're really happy to get it.
I always love the Starbucks gift card. I mean, what am I gonna do? Not use $25 of free coffee? Are you kidding? Of course I am!
Even if you aren't a coffee drinker, then re-gift it to someone who is. You'll be a hit.
Cameron Heyward had no shortage of motivation to beat the Houston Texans, whether it was his Pro Bowl snub or the Steelers clinching a bye in the AFC playoffs.
“All of the above,” Heyward said. “Just keep stirring the pot. It doesn't matter what it is. I'm going to find some motivation. If you're not motivated at this time, you're in the wrong sport.”
The Texans were on the wrong side of Heyward, who had four tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in the Steelers' 34-6 victory at NRG Stadium on Christmas.
Heyward has a dozen sacks on the season, two short of Keith Willis' 1983 record for a defensive lineman. Not bad for someone who essentially is a tackle in the Steelers' 3-4 scheme, just not good enough to be picked for the Pro Bowl.
When the Steelers have wide receiver Antonio Brown in the lineup, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looks his way almost 12 times a game.
They didn’t have Brown in Houston on Monday, which meant that Roethlisberger was spreading the ball around a bit more. He targeted five different players at least four times and completed passes to six different receivers in the 34-6.
Roethlisberger said after the game that it was “fun to spread the ball around” and the team got key plays from JuJu Smith-Schuster, Martavis Bryant, Vance McDonald and Justin Hunter over the course of the afternoon.