2010 Playoffs

James Harrison Media Day Interview Transcript


(on if he expected it to be as cold as it is in Texas today) “Absolutely not. I felt like I was back in Pittsburgh when I woke up. I was kind of pleasantly surprised.”

(on what he remembers from his interception in the last Super Bowl he played in and if it changed his life) “I don’t really remember too much right now. It didn’t change my life at all. It changed the outcome of the game, but that’s really about it.”

(on that play being one of the most famous plays in Super Bowl history) “That was then. This is a totally different year. It’s all good to have a record and be part of history, but there were 10 other guys out there with me that should be on that same record.”

(on his feelings about the fines this year from the NFL) “I have no feelings on it. It is what it is. I felt like they might have been looking for a poster boy to implement their rule and they just chose me.”

(on if he changed the way he played after the fines) “No. No, I didn’t change the way I played. You’re looking at maybe five or six plays in the course of 900, 1000 plays a year or 7,000 or 8,000 plays over the course of my career, and they’re trying to pick out five or six plays from this previous year that were questionable to them. If you go through the course week-in and week-out that guys play in, I believe if you look at the film you’ll see guys that hit quarterbacks the same way that I do if not worse, and they aren’t flagged and they aren’t fined either. Like I said, they needed somebody to implement their rule and they decided to come make it me.”

(on if the “crackdown” changed the way players in the League play) “I don’t know. I mean, rule changes are good for the game, but I mean, there are certain things that you’re going to have to take into account when you see a guy hit someone. You can’t just have a flat-out rule that says if you hit someone in the head, you’re fined, because the majority of the time you have guys that are protecting themselves. He’s going to duck his head to protect himself and we hit helmet-to-helmet. And that’s what it was with me and [Mohamed] Massaquoi. He ducked his head to protect himself and I lowered my target area and we ended up hitting shoulder to helmet area and he sustained a concussion. They’re saying that that’s my responsibility to readjust to an adjustment that he has made at the last second. You just can’t do it.”

(on if players can change the way they play after so many years) “You can change the way that you decide to hit someone if you have enough time to, but the game happens so fast that most of the time it’s a bang-bang play and you don’t have time to adjust to an adjustment that a guy has made. Even when I went up there to talk to them. I said, ‘So, if I’m going to hit a receiver and he ducks his head at the last minute and we hit helmet-to-helmet, is it my fault?’ He [Merton Hanks] said, ‘Yes, it’s your fault and you will be fined.’”

(on if the attention has done something good for the Steelers and the hard-nosed football they play) “I don’t know if it’s caused anything good. The best thing that came out of it is that I ended up starting a foundation, the James Harrison Family Foundation, to help disabled kids and their families. From the fines that I got, people started sending in money. That’s the good thing that came from it. So whatever I’m fined, I match to my foundation, so that’s good.”

(on how much money was sent from fans) “They actually send money to the NFL offices – about $2,700 that they ended up sending to the Beaver Country YMCA where I had a program called James Harrison’s Sacks for Kids that we gave Christmas gifts out to underprivileged families, to people that couldn’t afford it, for the holiday season. They sent that to them and I had some fans that sent things to me. It was maybe $200 or $300 that I put in to the foundation.”

(on if his familiarity with the Super Bowl helps) “I think it helps are far as knowing what’s going to happen and the appropriate way to deal with it, but I don’t think it helps us in any aspect of actually winning the game.”

(on if other teams fear playing the Steelers defense because of the hits) “I hope not. It’s a grown man’s game. You go out there and you play with other grown men. I fear no man but God and I hope everybody else feels the same way.”

(on the intimidation factor for teams knowing they’re going to get hit when playing the Steelers) “Listen, you’re going to get hit if you play football. I guess you could say, ‘Yes.’ Our defense, we play 1,000 miles an hour. We’re balls to the wall, so to speak, and yeah, if you’re out there, expect to be hit. If you’re scared, then maybe you don’t need to be out there.”

(on when he has had a concussion) “I’ve had concussions at the pro level. It wasn’t bad enough to where I needed to come out of the game. I’ll put it like this: if you don’t tell them, they don’t know unless you get knocked out and you’re sitting there with your arm stuck in the air.”

(on if he is trying to punish someone when he tackles him) “When I tackle someone, I want to get them on the ground. I’m not trying to punish anyone. We’re not trying to hurt anyone.”

(on the physical nature of the game) “It’s a physical game. It’s a violent game and you can’t control everything. It’s getting to a point to where I think they’re just going to have to go and put flags on us to at least protect the quarterbacks, because that’s what it really comes it comes down to. Most of these rules are implemented to protect the quarterbacks. Tell me how many people would watch the games if you went and put flags on everybody. See how popular the game is then.”

(on if he would agree with the rules if they were applied evenly across the League) “Yes, plain and simple. From what they told me, if any part of your helmet – that means your facemask, the top of your helmet, the back of your helmet – touches a defenseless player in their helmet or shoulder area when you tackle them, it’s a fine. With that being the case, everybody that does that should be fined. Not [only] if you do it and the person is hurt or acts likes they’re hurt do you get fined. It’s coming down to if you hit them too hard and they’re hurt, you’re getting fined. I don’t care where you hit them.”

(on the Pittsburgh Steelers defense) “We play defense the way it’s supposed to be played. Like I said, it’s 100 miles an hour, balls to the wall, hit everything you see. Everything else takes care of itself.”

(on if the League is trying to protect players) “The league is doing whatever they need to do that helps them make more money. If you hit Tom Brady or Peyton Manning and you concuss them and they can’t play the next game, a lot of people might not tune in to see that. It’s whatever makes them more money.”

(on protecting the players making the hits) “They don’t really care about protecting the defense, let’s be honest. Offensive linemen can cut you in the back of your knees. They can do a lot of dirty things that they don’t call penalties and don’t have on the books as being penalties.”

(on Troy Polamalu winning Defensive Player of the Year) “Troy is the best player in the game right now. He’s our MVP. I’m extremely happy for him. I’m probably more happy then he is. He’s that guy this year.”

(on what he remembers from his Super Bowl interception two years ago) “I don’t really remember the play. I remember we got a pick and some guys were blocking and I was running and we scored a touchdown and I needed some oxygen. That’s it.”

(on if he has changed his style of play since the League cracked down) “I haven’t changed anything. Maybe for the first couple weeks, and that wasn’t really like I changed anything. I just didn’t put my face in the fan, so to speak, in certain situations. Other than that, I’m back to playing how I played.”

(on going to an 18-game season and theoretically starting the playoffs now after playing 18 games) “It would be absolutely ludicrous to go to an 18-game schedule, especially with the way my body’s feeling now. You’re talking about 18 games and possibly another three or four games depending on what position you are in the playoffs, so you’re looking at 22 games before it’s all said and done. That takes a terrible toll on your body. I don’t feel like it’s a good idea. I don’t feel like it’s the thing to do. They’re so worried about player safety, yet they want to add two more games to give you another 150, 175 plays to possibly get hurt or injured. Just making it through a whole season without sustaining any injuries is hard enough when it’s only 16 games and they want to add two more. It’s not really player safety that they’re worried about. They want to do whatever makes them more money and adding two more games makes them more money.”

(on what Dick LeBeau means to the defense) “Dick LeBeau is the wizard of everything that we do. Without him and his schemes, we aren’t the defense that you’ve come to see out there on the field.”

(on LaMarr Woodley describing Dick LeBeau as “calm and passionate”) “Definitely. I don’t think I’ve had Coach LeBeau yell at me one time and I’ve been here nine years almost. [He’s] definitely calm and passionate. You don’t want to let him down. You don’t want to let him down because you don’t want to hurt him. You don’t want to see his feelings hurt. You don’t want to be that guy. He’s like a father figure to a lot of us and you go out there and you play for your father.”

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