James Harrison Didn’t Sign Up to “Be a Cheerleader” – Former Steelers Linebacker Shares His Story

james-harrison-new-englandFormer Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison has taken a lot of heat this week after his release from his former team. Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey said that Harrison “chose to leave.”

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Harrison slept “in a recliner during position meetings and snoring loudly while outside linebackers coach Joey Porter tried to teach.”

Obviously these stories cast Harrison in a negative light shortly after his release from the Steelers. It also doesn’t help matters that he signed with another top AFC competitor in the New England Patriots.

But the 39-year-old linebacker recently shared his version of the story through Instagram. You can see the Instagram post below along with the shady things Harrison did before his release.

Instagram Post from Harrison on the Steelers Situation

“If anybody thought I signed a two year deal with a team in the NFL at age 39 to sit on the bench and collect a check and a participation trophy, they’re mistaken. I didn’t sign up to sit on the bench and be a cheerleader. I was clear about that when I signed, and I was told I would be on the field when I signed. When I was asking for reps in camp, I got none. I got lip service though: we know what you can do – you don’t need the reps. But I know what my body needs in order to be in shape to compete, and I said so, but still zero reps.

james-harrison-pittsburgh-patriots“At the beginning of the season, when it was clear I didn’t have a role anymore, I asked to be released. Throughout the season, I was told week in and out that I’d be used. I wasn’t. I started getting frustrated about the whole thing. I asked to not be dressed or take unnecessary practice reps if I wasn’t going to play. That’s what happened for a [couple] weeks, then we had a game week that I got solid reps in practice and everyone assumed I would play. I got to the stadium four hours early as usual, and my locker was empty. Nobody said anything to me about being inactive, just an empty locker. I asked to be released again. I was told no.

“A couple weeks later, they dress me for the game so I assume I’m going to play, and I get zero repos. Stood on the sideline the whole game. I asked to be released again, I was told no. Then a few days later, they released me. I was never told I would be brought back, it was: If I bring [you] back, be in shape. I cleared waivers, and they didn’t call. New England called. Also, to be clear, ask Ryan [Shazier] if I came to see him in the hospital. I didn’t help Bud [Dupree] or T.J. [Watt]? As TJ if I helped him.

“Maybe I didn’t handle my frustration the best that I could’ve. If you haven’t learned anything about me over the last 16 years, I’m a competitor to my core. I live and breathe competition. I do what it takes to keep my body and my mind ready to be on that field. I do it for me, I do it for my family, I do it for my team and I do it for the fans. Nothing else to it. At the end of the day, they made a business decision and so did I.”

More Stories on Harrison’s Misdeeds in Pittsburgh

The Instagram post by Harrison certainly offers a different light on the recent events. It sounds like he was promised some type of role, then treated like a deep reserve when TJ Watt and Bud Dupree developed quicker than expected.

james-harrison-patriotsNevertheless, this doesn’t make up for some of the things that Harrison allegedly did in the waning weeks of his Steelers’ career.

Pouncey was particularly annoyed that Harrison hasn’t gone public about his demands for a release.

“He wanted out. It wasn’t like the team said, ‘Oh, we’re going to let go of James Harrison.’ James Harrison wanted out,” said Pouncey.

“It’s funny to read the stories. This is something he wanted to do. It wasn’t like they got together and said, ‘We’re going to go cut James.’ No, that’s not what happened. And he needs to come out and admit that.”

Paul Zeise, who hosts the Pittsburgh radio show 93.7 The Fan, quoted Dupree as saying that Harrison didn’t provide any leadership to he or fellow rookie Watt.

“I looked up to Deebo [Harrison’s nickname] and wanted to learn from him but he didn’t want to be a mentor to us, like he didn’t want T.J. and me to be better than him,” Dupree said, through Zeise.

Is Harrison Sharing Steelers’ Secrets with the Patriots?

The media has run with a conspiracy theory that Harrison is sharing all of Pittsburgh’s secrets with his new team. QB Ben Roethlisberger’s wife kicked this rumor off.

james-harrison-pats“My wife and I were talking about it last night,” Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Gazette. “She was asking me if he knew our no-huddle stuff. I said I don’t think he knows a lot of it. I’m sure he’s heard some of the same things for a lot of years now so maybe some of it. But that’s a long way off.”

If New England is pumping Harrison for information, Patriots coach Bill Belichick certainly isn’t admitting it.

“I mean, look, at any team — this is the National Football League. Players change teams,” Belichick told the press. “We have David Harris. I mean, this isn’t some kind of unprecedented event. That’s just not what it is. We face somebody that’s been on our team every week. We have somebody on our team that was with another team that we play against.

“That’s the way it is every week. This is the National Football League. We’re not talking about college now where players don’t change teams. This is professional football. It’s like that every year. It’s like that every week. It’s like that on every team. I don’t know. I don’t see it as some big historical event.”

2017/18 NFL Futures

As Belichick said, players changed teams all the time. So Harrison being on the Patriots doesn’t suddenly give them a massive edge against Pittsburgh in a potential AFC Championship showdown.

But it certainly doesn’t hurt either. And New England is still favored on our GTBets.eu sportsbook to win both the conference title and Super Bowl. That said, let’s look at the current futures.

AFC Championship Futures

New England -120
Pittsburgh +265
Jacksonville +750
Kansas City +950
Baltimore +1200
LA Chargers +5000
Tennessee +6000

2017/18 Super Bowl Futures

New England +200
Minnesota +490
Pittsburgh +575
LA Rams +1000
New Orleans +1000
Philadelphia +1000
Jacksonville +1400
Carolina +1800
Kansas City +2000
Atlanta +2500
Baltimore +2500
Seattle +4500
LA Chargers +10000

Leave a Reply