James Harrison Says He Learned His Potent Bull Rush From Kevin Greene

James Harrison didn’t need a half dozen pass rush moves to get to the quarterback. He only needed two. His slap/rip and his bull rush. To learn the latter, he only needed to learn from one man.

The late Kevin Greene.

Harrison appeared on an episode of the GRINDcast podcast, hosted by Simon Arias, to discuss his life and football career. Harrison credited Greene for showing him how to setup and use his powerful bull rush move that became a staple way to get to the quarterback.

“For me, the speed bull,” Harrison told Arias. “The dude that got me doing the speed bull was Kevin Greene. That’s what he taught us. Speed bull. Up the field, three steps or five steps, and you bull into him.”

Greene, who died in December of 2020, never served as a full-time coach for the Steelers. But he spent a summer with the team in 2008, two weeks coaching up Harrison and the rest of the outside linebackers, and Harrison benefitted from that brief time. Though he became a starter in 2007 and had a good season, 2008 was his breakout year. He recorded 16 sacks that season, forced seven fumbles, and registered over 100 tackles. Pittsburgh had the league’s most dominant defense, the Steelers won the Super Bowl (in part thanks to Harrison’s historic pick-six), and Harrison was named Defensive Player of the Year.

His speed bull is something we talked about over the years, even doing a film room breakdown on way back in 2015.

We’ve also referenced the mini coaching clinic he once did in 2009, breaking down the art of the speed bull and the move he learned from Greene.

Harrison would continue his dominant run the next several years and end his Steelers’ career as the all-time sack leader. Though known for his physicality and brute force, his pass rush plan played a key role in creating havoc on quarterbacks.

“I would do that same move. Instead of bulling him…they shoot their hand out, [I would] slap/rip and come around the corner. I’d go a whole half and just bull a dude, bull a dude, bull a dude. Get him set. And then come the second half and then bull him, come around the corner, bull him, come around the corner.”

Greene himself was a tremendous player who brightly shined in his three years with the Steelers, leading the league in sacks with 14 in 1994. He got into coaching and spent years with the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets. There were always rumors and rumblings of him being hired by the Steelers’ full-time, an idea Greene was open to, but it never happened.

Though his death occurred far too early, his legacy lives on through the memories of his play, who he was as a person, and the impact it had on players like Harrison. Harrison learned the bull rush from Greene and funny enough, it was the move that turned the corner on his career.

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