James Harrison: “I don’t hate the Steelers”

AP

It’s obvious from James Harrison’s free agent wish-list he wanted to stay close to Pittsburgh.

But upon signing with the Bengals (after some pre-Elvis Dumervil flirtation from the Ravens), Harrison struck a businesslike tone about his former team.

I don’t hate the Steelers. Am I disappointed? Yeah,” he said, via Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “But when the negotiations first started, I basically knew the situation was going to be what it was going to be. My compromise wasn’t going to come to theirs and theirs wasn’t going to come to mine, which made business sense for them. They did what they did, and what made business sense for me, I did what I did, so we had a parting of the ways.

“I wish them the best except for when we play, and of course I’m assuming they wish me the best except when we play them.”

As for the Bengals, they knew from first-hand experience that Harrison could play, but they wanted to find out if he was physically well, and whether he’d fit into a locker room that skews young.

They put both to the test during his visit, and coach Marvin Lewis said Harrison “bared his soul” during a meeting with linebackers coach Paul Guenther.

“It’s nice to have one veteran guy. I don’t know where that is around the league but if we hadn’t made the signing we would be the youngest group in the league,” Guenther said. “It’s nice to have him, the guys can pull knowledge from him and it will be a good addition.”

Harrison also insisted that playing the strongside in the Bengals 4-3 defense wasn’t as much of a transition from his nine years of 3-4 in Pittsburgh.

But making the transition from fixture for the Steelers to a bit of a figurehead for a  younger team with other playmakers might be the more difficult part.

14 responses to “James Harrison: “I don’t hate the Steelers”

  1. It wont be difficult at all the young backers are fired up to have this dude next to him…Vontaze Burfict (undrafted) played like a seasoned vet last year with 174 tackles…Now he gets to learn from the mind of 1 of the most tough and craziest backers to ever play the game.. Im jacked Burfict gets to play next to this dude…. Now Rey Soft Man needs to step his game up. So Im hoping Rey will get some fire by playing next to JH… Im hoping Howard comes back from the torn ACL and signs…Then we get some serious depth… Then on 3rd and 11 you have the following: Atkins(12.5) MJ(11 or 12) Dunlap(top 5 or 10 in pressures and 6 sacks) Gilberry(6.5 sacks fumble for TD) and James Harrison…. Yea you got 2 secs to get the ball out! LOL

  2. Why would he hate the team that signed him when nobody else wanted him, made him millions of dollars, and helped put two rings on his fingers in three Super Bowl trips?

    James will return to retire a Steeler in about two years. Just like Ed Reed will return to retire a Raven when he hangs it up.

  3. Much of us in Steeler Nation are going to miss James Harrison. Thanks James for some unforgettable memories and incredible play.

  4. I always will have a place for James in my heart… Even if he did have sour grapes about the Steelers organization. He was dominant in his time here. It’s a shame he bloomed so late or he’d be a serious contender for the Hall of Fame.

    I think he’ll do well with the Bengals, and I hope he does, but like he said… just not against us twice a season.

  5. good luck james we are going to miss you. bill mazeroski s homerun , the immaculate reception, santonio holmes catch in the super bowl, and your runback for the td are my top memories of alltime pittsburgh sports.

  6. We saw the positive effects of how a veteran LB can have on the growth of a young team (thanks Dhani) – I think (and hope) that James will connect with the physicality that Burfict plays with and what Rey is hopefully growing into (hurry up Rey).

  7. JH, thanks for the play that won us a SB (also happens to be the greatest SB play of all-time). But here’s some advice:

    1. If you want to retire as a Steeler, please act like you’ve been there before, and just go about your business.

    2. If someone named t8ertot approaches you for an autograph, run like hell.

  8. He’s disappointed in the Steelers? He should be happy they gave him a chance to play for a contender instead of dragging him back down to the cellar.

  9. Steeler Nation will never forget that incredible run in the Super Bowl after intercepting at the two and going for a touchdown with no time on clock. He will always be high on Steeler Lure.

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