James Harrison: Steelers drama falls at the feet of Mike Tomlin

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One of the kids who used to play with Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t think the Steelers quarterback should have carte blanche to call out whomever he pleases.

Former Steelers linebacker James Harrison said during an interview on the NFL Network that the current drama in Pittsburgh — where the best players are leaving town, and management is justifying the quarterback ripping teammates — could have been avoided if coach Mike Tomlin would have taken charge.

“I start off at this same thing with [Mike] Tomlin. The head guy has to be the one that takes charge,” Harrison said. “I believe it’s fault on, even with my situation, it’s fault on me. It’s fault on Tomlin. It’s fault on the team. It’s got to this point because Tomlin has allowed a certain amount of things to go on and rather players take advantage of that or step beyond that, it’s got to a point where it’s so far out that now he can’t reign it back in so to speak. And with that being the case it’s Tomlin. It could be some blame on A.B. [Antonio Brown] It could be some blame on Ben. It can go around.”

Harrison’s own history with Tomlin is worth noting, as he tried to get released in 2017, a process which dragged on until late in the season. He’s also questioned Tomlin’s leadership style as a problem before. But hearing General Manager Kevin Colbert to coddle Roethlisberger was difficult for him, since it puts the quarterback on a plane above everyone else in the building.

“For me, Ben being the unquestioned leader, I have no problem with that situation other than the fact that no one is beyond unquestioned,” Harrison said. “That’s a big statement. If I’m in that locker room, I just got put under ’52 kids.’ I’m feeling some sort of way. Even if I didn’t feel that type of way before, like even if there wasn’t a rift on the radar. Now I’m like ‘Is that how they really view me up top?’

“And I think this is what Antonio [Brown] may have said where he said he felt like Ben had an owner’s mentality. And you have the G.M. that’s saying this and that’s how guys may feel, even though that may not be the case. As far as when I was there that’s not how I felt. I communicated with Ben just like I did any other player. We agree or disagree and so on and so forth.”

Harrison said he got that Colbert was trying to back his quarterback, but got “a little overzealous with it.”

But this is the bed the Steelers have made, repeatedly. And now Roethlisberger’s going to have to lie in it without one of the best receivers in football.

21 responses to “James Harrison: Steelers drama falls at the feet of Mike Tomlin

  1. By and large, he’s right. It’s a massive lack of leadership from the top, plain as day. Of course, Bell and Brown should catch a lot of the blame as well for acting like immature, spoiled children.

  2. Tomlin shows favoriteism, its been going on that way for years. The team concept is lost and this is what happens.

    Looks like the Steelers bus to medicrity-ville just left the station with Tomlin driving, don’t worry folks it will only be a few years.

  3. No coach has done so little with so much talent for as long as Tomlin. Well, aside from Marvin Lewis.

  4. Wait a minute Steelers fans have been telling us he is amazing coach. He won a super bowl ten years ago. He beat patriots in a regular season win yada yada

  5. I agree with Harrison on the surface, but this feels like a much bigger problem. Tomlin could (and should) have stepped in and been more vocal from the start. But all that gets put on the back-burner when you have the GM saying Ben is right to call out everyone.

    That takes it from being a locker room problem, to making it an organization-wide problem. The Steelers are a mess right now.

  6. So many serious issues continue in Pittsburgh. So many great players complain about Tomlin. What is going on here? Where there is smoke, there is fire. Maybe time for Mr. Tomlin to move on?

  7. Is it just me or is this mostly gibberish? He is trying so hard not to come out and say what he means that you wonder why he doesn’t just spit it out. I guess the culture of not criticizing your coach or team mates is holding him back. It is clear he thinks Tomlin is to blame But even that he sort of soft sells.

  8. Amen brother, the steelers fell in love with Tomlin and the complete mystic of this team has fallen away. They will never win another championship under him.

  9. Harrison couldn’t handle the fact that he was washed up, and has am irrational hate towards Tomlin for not starting him in his final season. Also, anybody notice a trend with the type of guys backing AB? T.O., Deion Sanders, Harrison…me first guys all the way.

  10. Tomlin won with Cowher’s players and has run the team like a romper room with no discipline. Tomlin laying down the hammer was taking away their video games in the lounge. Well, that and “unleashing hell” on the fans…

    Tomlin is more concerned with being friends with the players than being their coach. He is also amazingly ignorant about his own shortcomings and resistant to change. The concept of accountability is foreign to him.

  11. When Harrison was a Steeler he barely spoke now that he’s retired and trying to get into acting he won’t shut up! but i don’t blame him for criticizing Tomlin he saw first hand how him being a weak disciplinarian lead to Brown and Bell’s disrespectful behavior towards the coach and the FO now that it’s out there the Rooney’s should do the right thing and fire Tomlin regardless of how it makes them look

  12. There’s plenty of blame to go around for their dysfunction. Ben needs to grow up and have some stones and confront people on the sidelines instead of through the media. AB needs to grow up and learn to follow the rules–that’ll never happen. Tomlin deserves most of the blame. If he had any stones he would have some sort of control. As it is he looks the other way and makes excuses–which is the way he coaches and why they lost to two of the worst teams in the league this year. Consequently, the front office deserves some of the blame too for hiring and keeping a coach with no spine. As long as Tomlin is there the Steelers can kiss the playoffs goodbye. He’s more interested in being buddy-buddy with his players than winning games.

  13. No one ever accused James of being a deep thinker.

    As a former player, he lays the blame on the coach.
    Not surprising and he is right in some respects.

    Tomlin should have cut James the first time he put
    his legs up and fell asleep in team meetings
    because of his disinterest.

    Even veteran coaches can learn and improve their craft.
    After what has transpired, I’m sure Tomlin will be
    much less tolerant of such behavior in the coming season.

  14. Um well 14 million per year. I could put up with a lot for that. Heck if my boss comes in tomorrow and tells me I’m getting a big raise to $100k per year but he’s going to cuss me for a solid hour every day including the weekends you know what? I’m smiling all the way to the bank. I just like to keep it in perspective lol.

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