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The James Harrison backtracking begins

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Earlier today, we wondered aloud when Steelers linebacker James Harrison would begin to offer up excuses for his inflammatory comments about Commissioner Roger Goodell and teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall.

The options, as best we could determine with the help of PFT Planet, were that:  (1) Harrison was misquoted; (2) his words were taken out of context; (3) his comments were not made “on the record”; (4) his Twitter account had been hacked; and/or (5) his brain had been hacked.

Harrison is, for now, going with No. 1 and/or No. 2.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports, citing former Steeler Merril Hoge, that Harrison told Roethlisberger that the writer of the Men’s Journal article “twisted” many of Harrison’s comments, and that Harrison did not intend to criticize Roethlisberger.  Roethlisberger told Hoge that the quarterback will take Harrison at his word.

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98 Responses to “The James Harrison backtracking begins”
  1. tomsd1 says: Jul 13, 2011 2:29 PM

    Maybe he was partying with the guys from Hangover – and got slipped a roofie?

  2. JackLeone says: Jul 13, 2011 2:30 PM

    We knew it would come sooner or later but not this soon…

  3. bradjames33160 says: Jul 13, 2011 2:31 PM

    James Harrison is a horse’s south end. Thank goodness he’s not on my team. GO BRONCOS!!!

  4. feldman9000 says: Jul 13, 2011 2:32 PM


    steelers suck.

  5. dprouse says: Jul 13, 2011 2:32 PM

    Definition of a “misquote” – when a public figure screws up and accidentally tells a reporter what he/she really thinks.

    Definition of being “taken out of context” – see above.

  6. philsimmsisadouche says: Jul 13, 2011 2:34 PM

    I’m going with #5, his brain was hacked. This isn’t the first time Harrison’s opened his mouth and inserted his foot. He just never got it quite this far down his throat before.

  7. powderedme says: Jul 13, 2011 2:35 PM

    keep digging…

  8. jaggedmark says: Jul 13, 2011 2:35 PM

    So Harrison backs off, eh?

    Where’s your balls Harrison?!?

  9. goawayeverybody says: Jul 13, 2011 2:36 PM

    The thing is, he just doesn’t have his facts straight. The league was beginning to take steps against “launching” and “leading with the helmet” long before Goddell came on the scene.

    Also, Rashard Mendenhall is NOT a fumbling machine. To be honest, that was just a heck of a play by Clay Matthews to knock the ball loose with his shoulder.

    Additionally, um, didn’t Peyton Manning also throw a pick six in the Super Bowl the previous year? Geez.

  10. smartbutlazy says: Jul 13, 2011 2:36 PM

    Man oh man. Jimmy is pissed. His wife is sure gonna get it tonight. Way to go writer of the Men’s Journal article.

  11. trickbunny says: Jul 13, 2011 2:37 PM

    Jeez, you’d think a guy who has accomplished what Harrison has could just appreciate what he has, what he’s done, and keep his feelings in check and have some shred of professionalism.

    But Harrison isn’t a “guy.” he’s a loudmouthed, bitching, moaning, whining, Neanderthal malcontent.

  12. canadianvikingfaniii says: Jul 13, 2011 2:38 PM

    Man up.

  13. sprest83 says: Jul 13, 2011 2:39 PM

    LOL, scum bag. Trade him to the Bills.

  14. kindbass says: Jul 13, 2011 2:39 PM

    Roethlisberger told Hoge that the quarterback will take Harrison at his word.
    Ya think? Would YOU tell James Harrison that you had a problem with something he said?

  15. goawayeverybody says: Jul 13, 2011 2:39 PM

    And I’m sorry but you can’t “twist” Harrison’s words at all. The Men’s Journal article wrote COMPLETE SENTENCES where Harrison was criticizing his teammates. If the Men’s Journal article is really putting words in Harrison’s mouth, then he should be taking legal action against them. Which of course he won’t. Because the Men’s Journal ISN’T putting words in his mouth at all.

  16. savocabol1 says: Jul 13, 2011 2:40 PM

    Why is there a common theme that when a Steeler speaks garbage comes out?

  17. eaglesfootballfan says: Jul 13, 2011 2:40 PM

    James Harrison is a rat and a liar. Face the Music James Harrison you lowlife.

  18. conseannery says: Jul 13, 2011 2:41 PM

    Cue the end of Harrison’s Steelers career in 3..2..1…

    I’m no Steelers fan, but that organization doesn’t play. They’ve historically let players go maybe a year or two early, but rarely a year or two late.

  19. udontknowjaq says: Jul 13, 2011 2:41 PM

    Again sum1 had to remind that fool who bailed his side of the team out when they almost gave up SB 43..

  20. Mitch Rogers says: Jul 13, 2011 2:41 PM

    The NFL locked the players out correct? While I don’t think Harrison’s comments are going to help him or the Steelers. I do feel that the players should at the least be allowed to say whatever they want about their former and probably soon to be future commissioner Goodell without consequence from the league – during the lockout. Now, the Steelers should and probably will fine/suspend him a game. … The Roethlisberger comments are misguided… if Harrison had one big play or even a few small plays during the superbowl the Steelers probably have 6 rings.. need to check yourself too.

  21. buckhuckster says: Jul 13, 2011 2:42 PM

    He’s a complicated man but no one understands him but his woman…..(John Shaf…er uh…James Harrison)

  22. duanethomas says: Jul 13, 2011 2:42 PM

    Just as I predicted. The problem will be when Mens Journal puts out the transcript and taped interview. The editor was on SportsCenter today and will not take kindly to James trying to put his magazine and reporter under the same bus as Ben and Mendenhall. More to come….

  23. moonischasinme says: Jul 13, 2011 2:43 PM

    These athletes are constantly speaking before thinking then blaming the journalist for twisting their words. If this is true, why don’t we ever see a libel lawsuit?

  24. Kaz says: Jul 13, 2011 2:43 PM

    He better or Harrison just might…. Well I won’t say it…

  25. joesphkerr says: Jul 13, 2011 2:44 PM

    I’m sure all of the players on AFC North teams are enjoying this as much as we are.

  26. footballfan says: Jul 13, 2011 2:44 PM

    I dream of the day that an athlete says something then stands behind it. You would think these guys agents would be all over them anytime they did an interview just to make sure they didn’t hurt their stock.

  27. mvp43 says: Jul 13, 2011 2:46 PM

    What a bunch of crap. I am sick and tired of players running their mouths ………they sound like spoiled little brats. Basically, they say what they want knowing that they can blame it on one of the many excuses listed in the story above if it blows up in their face.

  28. skoobyfl says: Jul 13, 2011 2:47 PM

    I think that the players would be better served in some type of day camp for kids, being that most of them are still like children in behavior.

  29. twitter:Chapman_Jamie says: Jul 13, 2011 2:48 PM

    If you are going to be man enough to say something like this then be man enough to back it up. This guy is a joke.

  30. evrybdyhas1 says: Jul 13, 2011 2:49 PM

    Wow, you just can’t make this stuff up. Please end the lock-out so we can drug test these guys, or maybe they are just naturally stupid!

  31. Mitch Rogers says: Jul 13, 2011 2:49 PM

    Whoops I meant 7.. sorry Steeler Nation.

  32. nflallyear says: Jul 13, 2011 2:52 PM

    Goodell should just do all football fans a favor and throw this POS bum out of the league.

  33. zsachse says: Jul 13, 2011 2:52 PM

    of course

  34. seahawkhuskyfan says: Jul 13, 2011 2:53 PM

    Does it bother anybody else that these idiots make the kind of money the do? Short on the brain power but high on the bank account.

  35. paul197343 says: Jul 13, 2011 2:53 PM

    Harrison needs a little “PR-101”

  36. ravenfan820 says: Jul 13, 2011 2:53 PM

    and the moon is made of green cheese…..

  37. apdaddy77 says: Jul 13, 2011 2:54 PM

    What did he say wrong about Ben? The guy is not peyton. He is also completely overrated and a duche to boot. He mad a couple of great clutch throws in his career, sure, but he did ride a superb defense and running game to every superbowl hes been to. He is a game manager. If you plug in matt hasselbeck or kyle orton into Bens spot during his rookie year they would have won the big one too.

  38. surshot says: Jul 13, 2011 2:56 PM

    It’s neve the media. That is one of the problems of today the MEDIA they have a bad habit of twisting the words so that they can sell the story.
    another greedy bunch.

  39. dangonavyboy says: Jul 13, 2011 2:56 PM much for bein a man and standing up not lettin anyone scare you how people of all types do the big talk when the people they are talking about arent around..but then when it gets heard and people start to question…oh wait…what i really meant to say was…wow..harrison your a dumba$$ for sayin stuff about your teammates and goodell..and now your just a p*ssy and a coward for backing out of your much for bein a man..

  40. fcs34 says: Jul 13, 2011 2:57 PM

    How perfect is it that this tool is now the face of the Steelers. Looks good on them. He must still be bitter that the refs didn’t hand them another SB.

  41. Rhode Island Patriots Fan says: Jul 13, 2011 2:57 PM

    Judging by his latest comments, Steelers LB James Harrison is out of control. The audacity of this guy referring to Tedy Bruschi—of all people—as a “clown.” Is Harrison for real? Bruschi is a peach, and one of the most well-liked former players. Tedy exudes professionalism, both on the field and on the air. The Steelers should handle this matter internally, and smack Harrison down with a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team—i.e., being a public embarrassment.

  42. enfuego2000 says: Jul 13, 2011 3:00 PM

    Sorry guys….I was misquoted 46 times.

  43. vetdana says: Jul 13, 2011 3:06 PM

    ” You can fool some of the people some of the time…But you can’t fool Mom “…….or, in this case, anyone who has a pea sized brain or larger.

  44. nineroutsider says: Jul 13, 2011 3:06 PM

    Yeah, this guy is a knob; trade him to the Niners…

  45. bdickey33 says: Jul 13, 2011 3:07 PM

    The Steelers should sign Ray Edwards…. these two would compliment eachother perfectly!

  46. ramofsteel says: Jul 13, 2011 3:08 PM

    Man this is the 1st time I can ever say that I’m embarassed to be a Steeler fan. I always thought JH was a little @$#% in the head, like after their SB win and he said “if the Cardinals won they would’ve been invited to the White House.” Beast on the field. Insanse off it.

  47. evilmajortom says: Jul 13, 2011 3:09 PM

    That’s too bad. For about four hours there James Harrison was my favorite player in the NFL.

  48. buckifan4life says: Jul 13, 2011 3:09 PM

    Yeah,..still sux!

  49. themage78 says: Jul 13, 2011 3:10 PM

    And see Rodney, this is why Goodell wants you to lead with your helmet less. It stops your higher cognitive functions from working.

  50. unbreakable02215 says: Jul 13, 2011 3:12 PM

    And you call Tedi Bruschi and Rodney Harrison clowns ? You ain’t worthy of sniffin their straps
    Jimmy Boy.

  51. jakek2 says: Jul 13, 2011 3:13 PM

    Where are all the Steelers fans bashing Harrison the same way they bash Tiki?

  52. 44kyle says: Jul 13, 2011 3:15 PM

    “(5) his brain had been hacked.”

    Can’t hack what you don’t got.

  53. litemater95 says: Jul 13, 2011 3:21 PM

    Yeah but, what doe sthis do to his Madden rating? LOL

  54. ohfrosho says: Jul 13, 2011 3:22 PM

    Being a Steelers fan let me be the first to say , that I do not have blinders on when it comes to my team having issues with conduct all teams have them . Having said that Roger Goodell is ruining the game that I love and we as fans really need to start rasins cain to get his ass out .

  55. shaggytoodle says: Jul 13, 2011 3:23 PM

    the toothpaste back in the tube routine.

    This guy just doesn’t get it and always seems to want to be doing his own thing. Whether it be getting fined multiple times. Blasting his teammates and the commish.

    He got caught with his pants down, and must feel really silly right now.

  56. dickroy says: Jul 13, 2011 3:23 PM


    I agree with you. I think he is a little touched in the head. He at least proved he is not very smart.
    I hate it that he said what he did and caused all of this negative attention, but one man does not make an organization. I could never be embarassed to be a Steeler Fan! I don’t believe you really are either.

  57. rolandsloan says: Jul 13, 2011 3:34 PM

    A big baby. He doesn’t think he’s being treated right by the commish so he goes off like a bomb
    with all types of collateral damage. Even if he has a point, no one can listen….Everybody’s ducking all the time.

  58. raidermick says: Jul 13, 2011 3:34 PM

    Yea, they twisted the poor guys words…

    What he really was trying to say is “The Steelers are done” and the Raiders will win it all in 2011

    He was just making an attempt to let Ben know that Richard Seymore was better than him on defense…

    I mean can’t you tell that’s what he was trying to say?



  59. ravenstink says: Jul 13, 2011 3:36 PM

    I wonder if the guy who twisted Mr. Harrison’s words from Men’s Journal is a Ravens fan and the reason he twisted them was to try to get Mr. Harrison suspended for the week one game against the Ravens to minimize the Steelers margin of victory.

  60. dragonfly99 says: Jul 13, 2011 3:37 PM

    Come on Ben. A disgruntled team mate criticizes you in a national publication and then says he didn’t mean it. You don’t even try to defend yourself? You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can fool Big Ben most of the time.

  61. Deb says: Jul 13, 2011 3:38 PM

    jakek2 says:

    Where are all the Steelers fans bashing Harrison the same way they bash Tiki?

    I’ve been right here calling for the Steelers to suspend him … and this article hasn’t changed my mind. I’ve always defended James, but he’s gone too far this time. This is conduct detrimental to the team, and the Steelers need to sit him for the opening game to send a message to him and the rest of the players. I know reporters can create a lot of spin, but doubt the comments where taken that far out of context. And if that’s his line of defense, he’d better hope the Men’s Journal writer didn’t tape the interview.

    I have a lot of issues with Roethlisberger’s maturity, but he’s always handled these kinds of situations well. I appreciate that both he and Mendenhall are being careful not to make it worse than it is.

    @ram of steel …

    People do stupid things. That doesn’t have anything to do with my identity as a Steelers fan. Harrison’s behavior is embarrassing to me, but I’m not embarrassed to be a fan.

  62. hobartbaker says: Jul 13, 2011 3:44 PM

    Ruthless and Rash just got mauled by their own family Pitbull.

  63. tougie1 says: Jul 13, 2011 3:49 PM

    bradjames33160 says: Jul 13, 2011 2:31 PM
    James Harrison is a horse’s south end. Thank goodness he’s not on my team. GO BRONCOS!!!


    No, you had Shannon Sharpe, the jackasses south end.

  64. ramofsteel says: Jul 13, 2011 3:53 PM

    @dickroy and @Deb

    When I meant embarassed, I mean that this kind of press gets out there, ppl see it and just automatically assume the team is “dysfunctional.” That’s where I get embarassed. I will always be a fan.

  65. hobartbaker says: Jul 13, 2011 3:53 PM

    Dan Rooney finally got his hands on a copy of Men’s Journal to read the article. He had a subscription years ago but his wife made him cancel it.

  66. moochzilla says: Jul 13, 2011 3:56 PM

    One of the dumbest human beings in sports history + roid rage + numerous blows to head = repeated stupid and inflammatory statements.

  67. rooneyruleblues says: Jul 13, 2011 4:01 PM

    Meril Hodge was interviewing roethlisburger while he was in the middle of something. Something being raping someone.

  68. laxer37 says: Jul 13, 2011 4:04 PM

    James Harrison has one big chip on his shoulder. Not a very good quality if you’re talking about your boss, best friend, or you kid’s babysitter. But as an NFL defender, I want 11 guys with chips on their shoulders lacing it up for my team.

    The only problem I have is his aparent need to criticize his teammates so openly. It’s always been obvious to me that he answers questions truthfully without caring what anybody thinks. Probably not the best approach for a public figure.

  69. enders9 says: Jul 13, 2011 4:07 PM


    How much time do you spend on PFT every day to just sit there and attempt to make several jokes in every single article that is posted? And what is the point of it? They are always completely random and never in response to anything anyone else says.

  70. citizenstrange says: Jul 13, 2011 4:11 PM

    For what it’s worth when Roethlisberger threw the pick six in the Super Bowl I shotgun blasted my TV until it was doing the Sonny Corleone toll booth dance.


  71. glac1 says: Jul 13, 2011 4:13 PM

    He’s spoiled, not bright and has no concept of real life. It’s a sad story.

  72. hobartbaker says: Jul 13, 2011 4:20 PM

    @enders9 – I’ma give you the benefit of the doubt that you were misquoted, or taken out of context, with that last comment.

  73. gilgafresh says: Jul 13, 2011 4:20 PM

    Wow. The league couldn’t be more ripe for the coming of The Anti-Harrison.

    …I’m looking at YOU Mr. 2nd String 😉 Quarterback of the Denver Broncos.

  74. granadafan says: Jul 13, 2011 4:23 PM

    Not even man enough to own up to the comments or apologize. He blames the media, of course. There is free speech, but there are consequences to your actions. For example, I’m free to say that my wife looks like a balloon in that dress, but I can’t claim free speech when I’m spending the next week on the couch.

  75. tarheelpirate says: Jul 13, 2011 4:26 PM

    Wait until Andy Rooney catches wind of this. He is going to be disappointed.

  76. bsizemore68 says: Jul 13, 2011 4:29 PM

    This guy has problems that will follow him long after football. Bill

  77. gobirds36 says: Jul 13, 2011 4:39 PM

    so everyone is cool with taking a writer at his word on quotes for a story that is HUGE for this magazine. do you guys ever watch an actual interview and then see the bs that espn will air on the same interview to get a point across. people get a clue, please. im sure harrison talked ish on his qb and rb to some fella froms mens health.

  78. psuravens19 says: Jul 13, 2011 4:45 PM

    Let me get this straight… the Journalist misquoted him on the Ben and Mendenall quotes, but not the Goodell and Cushing ones. RIIIGGGTTTT.

  79. Deb says: Jul 13, 2011 4:45 PM

    @citizenstrange …

    Gasp–that’s a terrible thing to say!!

    Sonny was hot.

  80. moochzilla says: Jul 13, 2011 4:47 PM

    Without Polamalu, that whole defense is worthless.

    Harrison is just “a guy” without Troy covering his rear and covering for him.

  81. thevalsalvamanouvre says: Jul 13, 2011 4:59 PM

    Harrison CLASSIN it up on his CLASSY teammates of their CLASSY organization.

  82. unbreakable02215 says: Jul 13, 2011 5:17 PM

    Stiller on Stiller crime ! OY !

  83. holeinone09 says: Jul 13, 2011 5:33 PM

    As a Steeler fan, I said earlier today there was no excuse or good reason for what Harrison said, either about Godell or his own teammates, and that was before I knew what he said about Ben and Rashard. Now that I know what he said, I am even more disgusted with his completely stupid comments. Has he ever made a mistake while playing? Did he ever miss a crucial tackle? Drop an interception? Does he think he is God’s gift to LBs? Does he think he is better than the TEAM? How many games has Ben basically single-handedly won for them?

    The more I think about it, the more I agree that the Steelers should suspend him for one game for conduct detrimental to the team.

    If these idiots would just SHUT THEIR MOUTHS and quit talking to reporters and tweeting about crap like this, there would not have to be backtracking, etc. I am just sick of this type of stuff. If you have something to say, SAY IT TO THEIR FACE IN THE LOCKERROOM.

    I own a Harrison jersey. I will take it to Goodwill this weekend.

  84. pittman2052 says: Jul 13, 2011 5:37 PM

    I can’t believe how hard people are behind the keyboard. I can guarantee that none of the people on here talking bad about Harrison would have the balls to say it to his face.

  85. closisgood says: Jul 13, 2011 5:41 PM

    Keep is classy, Pittsburgh.
    Guy talking smack about everyone around and a guy raping every chick around.
    Now THATS America’s team

  86. henokethegreat says: Jul 13, 2011 6:10 PM


    Seriously though James Harrison has to be the biggest idiot in the world. He’s going to attack Ben when his D got shredded in the superbowl. I still don’t think this is as bad as his comments to why he didn’t visit the President. He’s a beast player but hes one dumb motha f

  87. gdeli says: Jul 13, 2011 6:14 PM

    his funeral. does it to himself. amazing.

  88. Little Earthquake says: Jul 13, 2011 6:22 PM

    Hey Harrison – the “Not Quiet” one –

    You got owned by gimpy Chad Clifton in SB 45. ONE tackle (an easy sack actually). GB hung 24 points on your defense.

    At least the offense kept the team in the game til the very end.

  89. melonnhead says: Jul 13, 2011 6:22 PM

    I can’t believe how hard people are behind the keyboard. I can guarantee that none of the people on here talking bad about Harrison would have the balls to say it to his face.


    I can guarantee that you wouldn’t say that to the face of anybody that is talking bad about Harrison. Gimme a thumbs down if you’re a butt-hurt Steeler fan that can dish it out but can’t take it.

  90. jazzymegalodon says: Jul 13, 2011 6:29 PM

    He has such a loud mouth but he is right about most of it. Rodney Harrison is a giant hypocrite who was voted as the dirtiest player. Goodell is a douche. Stop making the NFL into fish tacos Rodger.

  91. diablito0402 says: Jul 13, 2011 7:11 PM

    Well harrison besides the superbowl, the only time i hear his name is from stuff like this ir illegal hits, he acts like he is the best player in history, sorry not even close, get this clown out of this league, he wont be missed.

  92. theblowtorchreview says: Jul 13, 2011 8:12 PM

    “If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it,” Harrison said, per the Associated Press. “I hate him and will never respect him.”

    Harrison also called Goodell a “crook” and a “devil” and a “puppet” and a “dictator.” Harrison also described Goodell with the use of what the AP calls an “anti-gay slur,” a clumsy articulation of what most people describe simply as a “gay slur.” (Unless there’s a new slur that is used to describe folks who don’t like gay people. . . .


    Just how does THAT much info get “misquoted” or taken “out of context”?

  93. philyeagles5 says: Jul 13, 2011 8:14 PM

    udontknowjaq says:
    Jul 13, 2011 2:41 PM
    Again sum1 had to remind that fool who bailed his side of the team out when they almost gave up SB 43..
    i believe James Harrison scored the longest TD in SB history in that game so…

  94. Canyonero says: Jul 13, 2011 10:22 PM

    Guess I missed the nuance in “if Goodell was on fire I wouldn’t even piss on him.”

    Lots of ways to take that, let’s see…

  95. thegonz13 says: Jul 13, 2011 11:36 PM

    The Golden Rule, Jimbo… When you’re in a hole, stop digging!


  96. fanofthegame says: Jul 14, 2011 6:07 AM

    pittman2052 says:
    I can’t believe how hard people are behind the keyboard. I can guarantee that none of the people on here talking bad about Harrison would have the balls to say it to his face.
    Why wouldn’t they? If he threw a beat down on them, they’d own him .. and his balls too.

  97. dietrich43 says: Jul 14, 2011 12:47 PM

    To quote Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, “I hope that the lamestream media doesn’t misquote me by using my words verbatim.”

  98. pigeonpea says: Jul 18, 2011 9:03 PM

    Harrison shouldn’t bash his teammates, but I agree with and support him 100% for what he said about Goodell.

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