James Harrison Gives Steeler Nation A Scare


October 7, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) reacts as he takes the field against the Philadelphia Eagles at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 16-14. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

James Harrison had some fun at many Steeler faithful’s expense this week.  On Thursday he tweeted:

Now, at first glance, it would seem that Harrison chose to leave the Steelers; however, based on his contract with the Steelers, he isn’t in the window to be signing any contracts right now.  I saw several responses where fans were pretty upset and then several more where people pointed out the contract time frames.

Harrison followed up by posting a picture on his Facebook timeline that showed him with a Dodgeball Team called the Ball Busters.  Obviously, Harrison knows he’s in the news and that speculation is increasing as he has been quoted as not being interested in taking a pay cut.  However, advertising his dodge ball gig may not be his smartest decision.

I’ve got two pieces of advice for Harrison:

  1.  Don’t assume you’re indispensable.  Look around the league.  The salary cap issue is very real for many teams and, in my opinion, the defensive players are going to be on the losing end of this.  The “playmakers” are going to continue to get paid and by that I mean, the quarterbacks and a few select wide receivers and maybe a few running backs.  I think we are going to see a disparity in the pay between defense and offense until perhaps a new CBA is negotiated.  Everyone wants the defense to make great plays, but at bargain prices.
  2. Have fun in the off season, but if you get injured, you’re likely to be cut.  The Steelers don’t have time to wait for you to heal from injury for the 3rd year.  Your value will go down dramatically if you get an off-season injury.

I think James Harrison is an awesome football player, but not everyone agrees.  Some consider him a dirty player.  With the league’s emphasis on player safety, particularly with concussions, Harrison’s style of play could be considered a liability.  I understand having the confidence to stand your ground during pay negotiations, but Harrison and his agent need to take a realistic look at the Steeler’s organization, their salary cap issues, Harrison’s injury history AND the state of the NFL pay structure for players.  It’s realistic that Harrison could end up with another team for the 2013 season.  I’m old school and like to see players remain with a single team for their whole career, but that’s not today’s reality.

As a side note, Dodgeball is becoming quite the sport, with trampoline floors and all kinds of stuff.  I watched a broadcast of a championship game a few months ago and was mesmorized at what they were doing.  There is a National Dodgeball organization that coordinates professional and amateur events.  You can check it out here.

As a second side note:  I posted that Dennis Dixon was back in the news during the Superbowl because he was on the Ravens’ practice squad.  I also noted the rumors that Dixon would be hired by Chip Kelly for the Eagles.  Congrats to the newest Philadelphia Eagle – Dennis Dixon.