Before the question can be asked regarding whether current players care about former players, the first question is whether the current players even know who the former players are.
Earlier this week, a concussion lawsuit led by former Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler pointed to the fact that the league’s Super Bowl XLVI commercial regarding decades of changes to the rules fails to mention “how recidivist violators like James Harrison (who has had five illegal hits on quarterbacks in three seasons) are allowed to continue to play the game.”
We noticed that language, appearing at paragraph 145 and page 65 of the 209-paragraph, 80-page complaint, we mentioned it, Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review repeated it, and Harrison was asked about it on Thursday by Tim Benz of WXDX radio.
Here’s the relevant exchange.
Benz: “James, are you aware of the story about the lawsuit mentioning your name in Philadelphia and if so what’s your reaction to it?”
Harrison: “I’m not aware of it.”
Benz: “Ken Stabler and some of the other former pro football players in a concussion suit referenced you as a guy that was a repeat offender and maybe should be out of the game. When you hear former players say that about you –”
Harrison: “Who is — Ken who?”
Benz: “Ken Stabler.”
Harrison: “Who is that?”
Benz: “Former Raider quarterback.”
Harrison: “Never heard of him. His opinion doesn’t matter to me.”
Frankly, Stabler’s opinion shouldn’t matter to Harrison. But it’s a little surprising that Harrison has never heard of the guy.
We realize that plenty of the men who play pro football aren’t passionate fans of the game. And we don’t expect football players to be football historians. But for a key member of the Steelers to not know the name of a Super Bowl-era quarterback who won a Super Bowl and who played quarterback in some of the most celebrated games in Steelers history is a little strange.
Then again, if Ken Stabler’s opinion doesn’t matter to Harrison, mine definitely doesn’t.
“Who is — Mike who?”