I’m not sure there is a person in the NFL who hasn’t committed any literal violent crimes that is easier to dislike than New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. While his greatness as a football player is (or should be) undisputed, it seems as though the majority of fans outside of New England do not particularly care for him on a personal level.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison used to be front and center in the line to bash Brady, at least before they became teammates late last season. After a number of requests for his release, Pittsburgh finally granted that to him in the final weeks, and he went on to sign with the Patriots, playing most of the team’s defensive snaps in the Super Bowl.
Harrison recently headed over to FS1 to appear on The Undisputed, and seemed to talk an awful lot about how great the Patriots are. As we talked about, he lavished praise on Bill Belichick, who, again, is unquestionably excellent at what he does, but readily dislikable. But he also talked about changing his tune about Brady.
“I’m a Brady fan now, I’m not going to lie”, he said. “I wanted to hate this dude”. And for the longest time, of course, he did, making public comments in that vein on a number of occasions. Needless to say, they buried that hatchet once they found themselves in the same locker room.
Calling him “the ultimate teammate”, Harrison described Brady as the best quarterback to ever play the game, which is not an unpopular opinion. “I’ve never seen anyone with his study habits, his preparation”, he said. “He’s filling up a whole notebook of notes with each game”.
The now-retired linebacker said that he spoke to one-time teammate LeGarrette Blount about Brady before signing with the Patriots. Blount played for New England before he signed with the Steelers in 2014, but he was released during his first season there due to locker room concerns.
Harrison said that the running back told him Brady was “a great guy”, and that he had a hard time believing him. “Stop lying to me”, he recalls telling Blount when told of the future Hall of Famer’s characters as a teammate.
It’s easy to read Harrison’s comments and compare them to Ben Roethlisberger, who is the quarterback with which the linebacker spent most of his career watching. I don’t think it’s any secret that the veteran didn’t hold Roethlisberger with a great deal of respect in the early part of his career, but they did grow together later.
The two even shared in on jokes, swapping jerseys during training camp last year. Still, Roethlisberger has never necessarily held the reputation for being the most diligent worker in terms of film study and note-taking.