Steelers linebacker James Harrison claimed his words were twisted when he was quoted by Men’s Journal as ripping some of his own teammates. But the writer whose integrity was called into question by Harrison is not upset by Harrison’s remarks — and he agrees with everything Harrison says.
Paul Solotaroff, who wrote the Men’s Journal article in question, said on ESPN Radio this morning that Harrison had to back away from some of his comments about teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall to keep the peace in the Steelers’ locker room.
“We talked about 11 o’clock yesterday morning,” Solotaroff said on Thursday. “Look, James is the guy who’s got to live with Ben for the next three years. . . . So as I told James, ‘Listen, whatever you’ve got to say to mend fences is perfectly fine with me.’”
Still, Solotaroff stands by what he wrote and even hinted that Harrison said worse things about Roethlisberger than what appears in the article.
“I filled up three notebooks, I don’t know how many hours of digital tape, and I cut so much stuff from this piece,” Solotaroff said. “There is just acres of stuff James said that’s compelling and amusing and riveting. And that wasn’t the only thing he said about Ben.”
Regarding what may have been the most violent of Harrison’s hits last season, the brutal blow to Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, Solotaroff said that if you’re looking for someone to blame, blame Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.
“Massaquoi is coming across the middle and only an idiot kid quarterback is going to lead his receiver — lead his receiver! — into a zone knowing that James Harrison is lurking back there,” Solotaroff said.
Solotaroff is an unabashed fan of Harrison’s and in his radio appearance he ripped NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for cracking down on Harrison’s style of play.
“I was furious at the way James got done by Goodell last year,” Solotaroff said. “I thought making him the poster boy for this abrupt and arbitrary rule change . . . was about the most wrongheaded thing you could do, particularly since Goodell seemed bent on singling James out.”