Are you one of several Pittsburgh Steelers fans currently worried about former outside linebacker James Harrison giving away his old team’s defensive playbook, checks and signals to the New England Patriots, the team he signed with on Tuesday? According to one former Steelers player, you shouldn’t be.
Former Steelers offensive lineman Trai Essex, who played seven seasons with the Steelers, posted Tuesday afternoon on Twitter that the whole info swap fear going around since Harrison signed with the Patriots “is drastically overblown.”
“Players switch from team to team all the time. And there is nothing the Pats would learn new that they can’t get from a season’s worth of game film,” Essex tweeted.
I reached out to Essex for more information on this topic Tuesday night and especially concerning how the Steelers might ultimately handle their calls and signals moving forward should they ultimately play the Patriots again in the AFC Championship game.
“They switch signals from week to week anyway,” Essex told me. “James won’t even know which signal is which. They won’t be the same as they were last time they played New England.”
So, fans and the media are blowing this all out proportion, right?
“Even if he [Harrison] could (he couldn’t), New England players would have enough to worry about within their own game plan,” Essex told me. “So either they would have to memorize every signal we had every week on top of what they are doing, or James would have to give them live translation during the 45 seconds they have to get play calls in in between plays. It’s silly.”
Personally, I think I would take Essex’s opinion on this subject over anyone else’s at this point. Should the Patriots wind up playing and beating the Steelers again in the playoffs, it isn’t likely to be a result of Harrison providing them any information about his former team.