James Harrison spent nearly 13 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’ll forever be remembered for his 99-yard INT returned for a TD in Super Bowl XLIII. But Harrison isn’t pleased with the current state of the Steelers and he’s pointing the finger at his former coach.
During an interview with NFL Network, Harrison said that the current drama in Pittsburgh could have been avoided if Mike Tomlin would have taken charge.
“I start off at this same thing with Tomlin. The head guy has to be the one that takes charge. I believe it’s fault on, even with my situation, it’s fault on me. It’s fault on Tomlin. It’s fault on the team. It’s got to this point because Tomlin has allowed a certain amount of things to go on and rather players take advantage of that or step beyond that, it’s got to a point where it’s so far out that now he can’t reign it back in so to speak. And with that being the case it’s Tomlin. It could be some blame on AB. It could be some blame on Ben. It can go around.”
Harrison had his own struggles with Tomlin late in his career. In 2017, Harrison asked for his release on numerous occasions and the Steelers didn’t grant it until late in the season. Harrison was eventually released and he signed with New England. The Patriots would go on to lose in the Super Bowl vs Philadelphia.
Harrison also talked about GM Kevin Colbert’s comments that “Ben [Roethlisberger] has 52 kids under him.”
“For me, Ben being the unquestioned leader, I have no problem with that situation other than the fact that no one is beyond unquestioned,” Harrison said. “That’s a big statement. If I’m in that locker room, I just got put under ’52 kids.’ I’m feeling some sort of way. Even if I didn’t feel that type of way before, like even if there wasn’t a rift on the radar. Now I’m like ‘Is that how they really view me up top?’ And I think this is what Antonio may have said where he said he felt like Ben had an owner’s mentality. And you have the G.M. that’s saying this and that’s how guys may feel, even though that may not be the case. As far as when I was there that’s not how I felt. I communicated with Ben just like I did any other player. We agree or disagree and so on and so forth.”
Harrison went on to say that he understands Colbert was trying to back his QB, but got “a little overzealous with it.”
The Steelers will be one of the most interesting teams to keep an eye on this offseason. GM Kevin Colbert said this week that they’re officially moving on from Le’Veon Bell and they’re starting talks to trade Antonio Brown. The new league year officially opens on March 13th at 4pm EST.
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