The belief that Steelers linebacker James Harrison is a violent and dangerous player isn’t just a creation of the sports media or the opinion of Roger Goodell. It’s also shared by many of his colleagues.
In an ESPN poll that asked NFL players, “Who is the most violent, dangerous player in the NFL?” Harrison was the runaway winner, with 67.5 percent of the vote. Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis came in second, at 10 percent.
An interesting follow-up question would have been whether players view the “most violent, dangerous player” as someone to shun or someone to admire. The league office has repeatedly fined — and even suspended — Harrison for his helmet-to-helmet hits, but it’s probably safe to say that Harrison would wear the “most violent, dangerous player” designation as a badge of honor.
In fact, Harrison and Goodell might even find some common ground in saying that Harrison’s reputation as the “most violent, dangerous player” is a reputation he deserves.