Pittsburgh Steelers defensive captain James Farrior joined Jim Rome on his radio show today for an interview and he was asked about the suspension of fellow linebacker James Harrison, and if he thought the team needed to change the way they play going forward. Farrior was asked specifically if Harrison should change the way he plays despite telling former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis earlier in the week that he wouldn\’t. Farrior said he hopes so and that he hopes Harrison is not that stubborn to continue doing stuff like that.
Farrior was also asked about if the Steelers are being treated unfairly by the league and how the team has progressed since the start of the season. He also talks about the possibility of getting a first round bye in the playoffs and talks about the challenges the Steelers face this week against San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore. Several other good questions are asked by Rome and below is the transcript of the interview.
Re: Was that a suspendable offence by James Harrison?
Well I know my opinion doesn\’t count for too much, but I feel like it was a football play that happened within the game and it is just unfortunate that it ended up that way and he got suspended. I was very disappointed.
Re: Explain what you meant by your comments earlier in the week when you said that while it was an illegal hit, it happened within the framework of the game.
I feel it was sort of a bang, bang play, it was a natural reaction play. Colt McCoy was in a position where he was actually running the football and he tossed it at the last second, and James was already in his tackling motion. I think he laid off of him a little bit too. I know it was an illegal hit, it was a helmet-to-helmet hit, but I don\’t think it should have been a suspension.
Re; How would you compare the hit by Harrison to what Ndamukong Suh did in his stomping incident?
That\’s a total foul. The play was over, there was a scuffle going on. You know that wasn\’t a football move. That was just an aggressive action. I don\’t feel like that was anything we were taught when we grew up playing football. That\’s something we shouldn\’t be doing.
Re: Do the Steelers have to accept the fact that they need to change the way they play now?
I think we have to accept it, I mean we are putting ourselves in bad situations getting guys suspended and the only thing it\’s going to do is hurt the team in the long run. That\’s not what we want to do, that\’s not what we are about. We are about winning games and winning championships, so I think we just have to play within the guidelines of the game.
Re: In your opinion does Harrison need to change the way he plays after telling Jerome Bettis he wouldn\’t?
James is a passionate player, he plays the game with a lot of emotion. He is an awesome player. I know he said he\’s not going to change the way he plays, but I know in the back of his mind, he\’s got to be really conscience about what he\’s doing out on the field.
Re: Could it be a case where he would change and just not cop to it publicly?
I hope so! I hope that he is not that stubborn that he\’s going to keep doing stuff like that. We see what happens when we do stuff like that, we get suspended, we get fined. We\’re just kind of tired being the target for the NFL, being the poster boy for these types of hits. We want to try to change the way we play. We still want to play as aggressive as we can, but we\’ve got to play within the guidelines of the game.
Re: Do you think the Steelers have been singled out by the league and have they done it unfairly?
I don\’t know. We\’ve had a lot of penalties, we\’ve had a lot of bad calls with that situation, so we just got to change it. We have to if we want to be successful around here, which we all want to do. Something we got do, we\’re going to have to change.
Re: What does Mike Tomlin mean by, “the standard is the standard”, and what does that mean to the players?
Well I think Coach Tomlin is speaking about when players are out, when players get injured. The next guy up is the guy that has to play at the same level as they guy that was ahead of him. We\’ve done a great job at doing that throughout the years and throughout this season. We\’ve got guys going down and people coming in and replacing them and doing a good job, and I think that is what he is talking about.
Re: How does this team compare to the one last year that won the AFC?
There are a lot of similarities. We\’ve got a lot of people back that we had last year. We didn\’t really lose too many guys. Just the younger guys got a little more experience, but overall I think we might be a better team and hopefully we will be a smarter team.
Re: How important would it be to get a bye this year?
I think it would be very important. It\’s the ideal situation that any playoff caliber team would want to have and that is to have the bye week and have that first week off. We\’ve done it both ways. We\’ve done it having to play on the road. We\’ve done it having home field advantage. Either way works for me.
Re: What\’s been the biggest difference the last several week as opposed to the start of the season?
I just think guys are really knowing that we are going to get everybody\’s best effort no matter who it is we are playing, especially against Baltimore, they are our arch rival. They love playing us at their best and they do a really good job at getting amped up for the game and we\’ve got to understand that, and we\’ve got to come out with that same type of fire power.
Re: Is that what happened in that first week, did you just not match their intensity?
As much as I hate to say it, I just think they wanted it more than we did that week and we learned a good lesson from that game. We took it on with us and we took it on the chin in that game. We all realize we\’ve got to do better and that is not the team we want to have out there on the field. I felt like everybody didn\’t think they did their best job. We wanted to do better than that so we all just took upon ourselves to be a better player.
Re: Did you guys do a lot of soul searching after that one?
Oh no doubt about it. Everybody had to look within themselves and figure out what they needed to do to make themselves better and make this team better and I think that is what we did.
Re: Is there a part of you that wants one more shot at those guys?
I look at it like this, we are going to have to play them all anyway if we want to get where we want to go. I\’ll take them as they come.
Re: Talk about the challenge going up against Frank Gore this week?
That\’s going to be the key to the game. If we are able to stop Gore and control him and keep him from getting a lot of big yards, then I think we\’ll definitely have a good chance of being successful and winning the game. He\’s a tough runner, he\’s a smart runner and he is very patient. He has good vision, he has everything you need to be a top running back and it\’s definitely going to be our biggest challenge on defense.
Re: Do you still get excited to play on Monday night after all of these years?
No doubt about it. We all get fired up on Monday night as we know it is the only game in town and everybody is watching. So you want to look good in front of your friends, you want to look good if all of your family is watching, so we definitely want to get a little more amped up for that one.
Re: What has it been like playing so long in the city of Pittsburgh?
Man it seems like this is where I was born to play. I don\’t think there is any other place I would rather play. The fans are outstanding and I think we\’ve got the best fans in the game. I know a lot of teams say that about their fans, but I definitely think we\’ve got a great following and it started back from the teams in the 70\’s and those fans have stayed on and they have raised their kids to be Steeler fans. They take a lot of pride in their team and we take a lot of pride in them also.