Divorces are ugly in any relationship, and that includes ones within the National Football League. If you don’t believe me, just ask any Pittsburgh Steelers fan what they think of the organization’s all-time sack leader, James Harrison, being released, and then going to the New England Patriots where he will be playing in Super Bowl 52.
The reactions will vary depending on who you speak with. Everything from, “He is dead to me.” to, “Good for him...the Steelers let him go.” will be the usual reaction from die hard black-and-gold faithful.
One of the unique situations about Harrison’s dismissal from the Steelers is how one-sided it was. Harrison’s then teammates went off about him trying to get released and his behavior to do so. Maurkice Pouncey and Bud Dupree being the more vocal of the team when denouncing Harrison for his actions which resulted in his release.
There wasn’t much noise coming from Harrison, other than his pre-written statement he posted on his official Instagram page.
While he attends media events, which he certainly has to hate, with the Patriots leading up to the big game, he was asked about leaving Pittsburgh, and his responses were contrite. He was asked about why he was upset with the Steelers after promises were made to him entering the 2017 season.
“I was just told I’d get around 20, 25 percent of the snaps,’’ Harrison told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rather than 25-percent, he played 40 snaps.
When he was asked about his former teammates’ comments, he said he understands.
“They were talking from emotions, you know, they hurt,” Harrison said. “You aren’t surprised when someone’s talking from emotions about being hurt.”
From there Harrison was verbally probed about the individual comments regarding what resulted in his departure from Pittsburgh. Did he really sleep in meetings? Was he a good mentor for younger players? All that and more were thrown at Harrison, and he even answered a question about his legacy in Pittsburgh.
Did he sleep in meetings?
“Who hasn’t fell asleep at a meeting,’’ Harrison replied.
Was he a good mentor?
“I’m doing no more or no less than what I had over my career. If someone has questions or wants some information, I’m open. I’m willing to give it.”
What will his legacy be in Pittsburgh?
“I don’t know. Ask ah, Franco, I guess.”
When referring to Franco, he is clearly talking about the Hall of Fame running back who ended his career with the Seattle Seahawks, not in the Pittsburgh black-and-gold.
This situation is so unique in so many ways. You have the Steelers’ side of things, and you have what Harrison is saying. Truth be told, I doubt anyone outside the walls of the Steelers’ headquarters will ever know what really went on in this entire debacle, but the reality is the entire Steelers organization will be watching James Harrison play in Super Bowl 52 this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.