Big Lead Sports Bar


Drama-Loving Linebacker Returns to Work

Surprise, surprise. James Harrison's not retiring after all. He sure had me fooled!

The diva/LB who openly worried about how he would do his job is back at Steeler practice today, just one day after he "threatened" to retire. Call me jaded, but I've never seen a retirement threat taken less seriously than the one offered up by Harrison. Was there really anyone who believed that Harrison would walk away? Because on the surface, this looked simply like the proverbial kid who took his ball and threatened to go home.

Nonetheless, I still think it was a wise decision by Mike Tomlin to give Harrison the day off yesterday. Nothing, repeat, NOTHING good could've come from giving Harrison any availability to the media, although it's worth noting that Harrison usually gives less to the local guys and more to the national (as seen again with the Fox interview that started all of this). If he would've talked in his apparently-emotional state, this story could've blown up even bigger than it already is, if that's even possible.

Look, I get Harrison's frustration. And I'm pretty ticked at the NFL myself right now, because once again, a Steeler is the poster child for what not to do, following in the footsteps of Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, and Mel Blount. But walking away from your profession is not the right answer. I'm glad someone talked some sense into #92, for his own sake. Pro football will go on with or without him.

This weekend will be a fascinating one to watch in the NFL. Defenders will be confused about how they should tackle offensive players. Referees will be fumbling over the rules in an effort to enforce them the way the league feels fit at the moment. And guess what? Players are still going to get hurt. Badly.

The league is run by teams of lawyers, and after a brutal weekend of football that left a player paralyzed at Rutgers, they see the writing on the wall. The day will come when a player is killed on the field, and the NFL wants to have every safeguard in place to say that they tried to prevent it. And once again, call me cynical, but I believe they're more interested in protecting their brand than protecting the players. Death is bad for business. And to the "protecting the players" point, if they were so concerned about their well-being, they wouldn't extend the season by two games.

The NFL wants to have their cake and eat it, too. That might be possible, but it's going to be a long, confusing journey to get from Point X to Point Y. And your first glimpse of that confusing journey comes Sunday.

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc:


BurressWithButterflywings said...

I think someone should tell Harrison Henne doesn't want to have his kids baptized.

Also, Rick Reilly is a real gem. Amazing how one player is singled out from all of this and their entire past is brought up. If I remember correctly, Brandon Merriweather, the worst of the 3 fined, stomped on a bunch of players during a brawl at Miami.

But he plays for the Saint Patriots, so nobody is goingto be paint as anything other than a guy who made a mistake.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

Harrison also made a good point about this new rule emphasis changing regular season games into the pro bowl. Unfortunately, i think that might be a best case scenario. I expect this new emphasis to backfire and result in a record number of gruesome/horrific knee injuries.

okel dokel said...

Thank goodness Rick Reily weighed in on this topic. I was anxiously awaiting his comments.

I think the next step for the NFL is to mandate a 3% incline on all playing surfaces. The offense would then play the whole game "running down hill."

Hopefully, the Steelers can use all this media outrage and hatred towards them as a motivating factor. Because nearly everyone has them as the #1 in their rankings.

I cannot wait until Terrell Suggs makes his next "comment" which will be ignored by the national media.

The Ravens, everyone's annual preseason Super Bowl champion, never receive any negative national publicity for any of their wonderful antics.

SantoGold said...

Rick Reilly focused on Harrison because he's a serial offender and is the poster child for unnecessary, if not illegal, hits. It doesn't matter that Merriweather plays for the Pats, the story was aimed to focus on an individual who always seems to find himself in these situations, whither Harrison.

Ryan Clark could have just as easily been the topic of this article, but he had the good sense not to go head-hunting this week. Ah, but he would be yet another Steeler, so the the claims of bias would continue.

Roethelsberger and Harrison have themselves to blame for garnering national notoriety, no media conspiracy needed.

Paranoia may destroya.

SantoGold said...

Ben Roethilisberger told Bill Cowher last week that he considered leaving the game after his suspension was handed down. That makes him a drama-loving diva as well, right?

Koz said...

The NFL is more worried about fan reaction to a player dying than the actual player's death--which isn't to say they aren't worried about the players.

The NFL has a huge following right now, and has made great gains among women. This is a huge marketing advantage. If they lose that, they lose their meal ticket.