During his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers, defensive tackle Steve McLendon was often times referred to as a workout warrior. So, if anyone can speak about the off-the-field training habits of Steelers linebacker James Harrison, it’s probably McLendon.
Recently, McLendon, who signed with the New York Jets during the offseason, was asked to give his thoughts on Harrison, who currently faces a suspension should he not cooperate with the league as part of their ongoing PED investigation stemming from a December Al-Jazeera America report.
“James Harrison is all hard work,” McLendon, said, according to Connor Hughes of NJ.com. “He’s all hard work. And he’s all natural.”
Harrison, who has until the 25th of August to interview with the league, has claimed his own innocence multiple times, even going as far as signing an affidavit at the urging of the NFLPA.
On Monday, the league notified Harrison that the affidavit would not suffice and that he must interview with them or be suspended. Strangely enough, the veteran linebacker wound up being randomly tested for PEDs on Tuesday, something Harrison has become quite used to at this point. His tests are always clean nonetheless and that doesn’t surprise McLendon one bit.
“I don’t know where they are coming up with it,” McLendon said. “I know first-hand he is all work. Sun up to sun down. He’s the first one in, last one to leave. He trains like he plays. He works like he plays. His work shows, man. I take my hat off to a guy that, at his age], continues to play, not just at a high level, but an extremely high level.
“He outworks everybody. Every young guy should look up to him like I do. I looked up to him in Pittsburgh. I used to get up early and get into the facility just to watch him. That’s all I can say about the man.”
It’s now up to Harrison and the NFLPA to decide whether or not it’s worth it to continue on with their fight and demands that the league produce more evidence that warrants them interviewing the Steelers linebacker
“I guess I would have to deal with that if the time comes,” Harrison said Tuesday. “I would lean in that direction because I don’t want to let my teammates down, I don’t want to let the organization down. We will deal with that when the time comes.”