I’m not sure if I’m the only one who has observed this or shares this opinion, but I do think that James Harrison, suddenly a media darling in his retirement, has been using more tact and discretion in his most recent appearances on the 24-hour sports channels in discussing the goings-on of his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It’s for that reason that I’m willing to actually write about what he has to say. What previously read like sour grapes comes across now as more insightful. He even actually looks comfortable in his new role, and I’m starting to think that he may actually have a future as an analyst, as one of his defensive teammates, Ryan Clark, has done.
But to get to the point, one of the topics that he discussed while appearing on Undisputed was, shockingly, his view of Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin and the manner in which he has doled out discipline over the years.
“Tomlin has a saying that he’s going to treat everybody fair, but he’s not going to treat everybody the same”, he started. “So with that being said, you know, you give an inch, some people will take a foot. You give a foot, some people will take a yard. I think it’s gotten to a situation now where he’s allowed so much and now he’s trying to back it off, and you can’t do it. And now that you’re not winning, all of that now comes out”.
The most interesting bit came, however, when they started talking about the specifics of recent events with Antonio Brown. Harrison went back to Le’Veon Bell, when there was a report that he was late to a Saturday walkthrough late in the 2017 season. And he had a strong opinion on that.
“It’s been other guys. It’s just that it wasn’t Le’Veon Bell. It wasn’t Antonio Brown”, he said. “You know, like they made a big deal when Le’Veon missed a walkthrough on Saturday. Well I know another guy that missed but you never heard a drop about it. But that’s because it was Le’Veon Bell and they were going through their situation and they were trying to make him look bad, so let’s let it out”.
It’s hard to imagine many other ways in which the knowledge that Bell was late through a walkthrough would have made its way out to the media without the team leaking it on its own, something that Mike Florio suggests happens very frequently with teams.
Obviously we know the whole situations with Bell, which is presumably nearly in the rearview mirror, but Harrison raises an interesting point. Basically, we only know what we hear, and we don’t know the rest. We don’t know what else has happened, and what is common on other teams.