The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.
Question: After having some time to process and with new information since having come available, how do you now view the Steelers career of James Harrison?
I’ve found this to be arguably the most divisive topic that we have dealt with all season. James Harrison, this generation’s top defensive player (short of perhaps Troy Polamalu) for the Steelers, basically worked toward getting himself the release that he asked for after he was not getting playing time that he felt he was promised, and then signed with the New England Patriots.
Harrison is about to participate in the Super Bowl with the Patriots, hoping to earn his third ring, having earned significant playing time for New England, typically being used to set the edge in their base defensive package.
Some side entirely with the player, believing that he was indeed told that he would play significantly more than he did, and that the coaching staff had an obligation to live up to that. These people also tend to be the ones who believe that he would have made a significant difference to how the defense performed this season.
Others are entirely on the organization’s side, or at least against Harrison, a group that saw its ranks swell after he quickly signed with the Patriots following his release. He has in the past very famously criticized New England and accused them of cheating, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing a Super Bowl ring with them.
Since leaving the Steelers, he has already spoken on multiple occasions of his intention to continue playing beyond this season, and if he does so, he will become one of the few defensive players to achieve that beyond the age of 40.
Nothing that has happened in 2017 alters what he has done in the past, however. Harrison remains the Steelers’ all-time sack leader, a defensive player of the year, author of one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history, and all of that. For some, that will never be viewed in a different light. For others, they can’t help but view it from the lens of how it all came to an end. At least for now.