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James Harrison

7/14/11

A Retrospective on Why NFL Players Named “Harrison” Ain’t Nothin’ to F-ck With (Allegedly)

Consider the fact that someone let this man have not one gun, but two!

This week the NFL world was overtaken by talk about Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker James Harrison. In this upcoming Men’s Journal article, Harrison gives his unfiltered thoughts on everyone from his teammates Running Back Rashard Mendenhall (fumble machine) and Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (no Peyton Manning) to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (crook, devil, stupid).

I’ve said a million times that James is one of my favorite players and people. And even if he wasn’t, I’d still say he was. Why? Because he frightens me! And let me tell you, I don’t scare easily. From the time I was little, my dad has told me not to be afraid of anyone. And that attitude remained with me right up until James Harrison knocked Kyle Orton, Josh Cribbs, and Mohammed Massaquoi into the middle of the following week all in one season.

Since then it’s been clear that like the Wu Tang Clan, players named Harrision ain’t nothing to fuck with. Something about the name Harrison when connected to football breeds a tolerance for bullshit that is very low. Low Low. Scrub the grouuuuund low. King of Diamonds stripper ass low. Gas tank on E low. Souped up Chevy on hydraulics low. Shawty Lo.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah. Scary Harrisons…scARRISONS…

If I wasn’t afraid, I’ll tell you all about James Harrison’s allegedly volatile relationship with his wife or about the time he body slammed a fan who ran onto the field.

 

 

But since I don’t want no parts of that conversation, I’ll simply move on to Marvin Harrison.

Yes Marvin Harrison, former Indianapolis Colts Wide Receiver and ALLEGED close friend of the streets.

Marvin Harrison Serves Up A Side Eye So Mean the Grim Reaper Would Drop His Scythe!

Marvin was a great wide receiver and actually might hold more NFL records than any other receiver in history. He garnered respect for his ability to elude defenders. These skills probably came in handy when he had to do the same thing to the police ALLEGEDLY. Off the field, Marvin was under investigation by both Philadelphia police and the FBI as they tried to determine if he was connected to the shooting death of a man he’d previously had an altercation with. This is all alleged!!

While I’m positive that Marvin is and was COMPLETELY innocent, since the 8 time Pro Bowler’s last name IS Harrison I can’t help but allegedly wonder!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention Rodney Harrison.

Rodney Harrison Tries to Make a Point to Tony Dungy Without Leaving His Seat

 

Admittedly Rodney only scares me half as much as Marvin and James but still enough that I wouldn’t mess with him to his face. The former New England Patriots Safety is known for admitting to federal agents that he received human growth hormones (ALLEGEDLY), being voted “dirtiest player” in the league by his peers, and hitting the $200,000 mark in fines by the NFL including a vicious helmet to helmet hit on the great Wide Receiver Jerry Rice that got him suspended.

THOUGH HE’S VERY HANDSOME AND WELL SPOKEN (just in case he’s reading this), Rodney gives me all kinds of crazy vibes especially when his broadcast partner former Colts Coach Tony Dungy makes one of his many goody two-shoes comments. Such comments usually prompt Rodney to visibly consider whether he should waste perfectly good breath making a counterpoint or handle the situation like a real Harrison would.

Side note: Judging by the number of times Rodney’s eyes have twitched and he’s flashed his “I-ain’t-no-killer-but-don’t-push-me” grin listening to Dungy talk, we are approximately 1.5 NFL seasons from Rodney putting Dungy in a Boston Crab or a rear naked chokehold depending on which suit he’s wearing that night. This is of course assuming he hasn’t already–ALLEGEDLY.

No surprise that the Hazardous Harrisons James and Rodney aren’t fans of each others. James says that Rodney is a jerk. Rodney’s response? Jerk is one of the nicer things anyone has ever said about him, and that James needs to just shut up.

James is right.

Rodney is right.

But take heart, we still have Nolan Harrison. Nolan is a senior executive for the NFL Players Association and formerly played defensive lineman for the Raiders and Steelers. He seems like a very nice guy. He actually took some time and explained to me what the NFLPA was doing with a couple of its player-driven sites.

What a sweet smile! His last name can't possibly be Harrison.

But…after that conversation, I took a peek at his bio and it says “you know whose side I’m on, tread lightly…” OMG IS THAT AN ALLEGED THREAT? Or have other Harrisons made me so nervous I don’t know the difference between helpful information and a potential ass kicking?

Umm...is this the same Nolan Harrison?

From this day forward,  any time someone is testing my gangsta, the name “Harrison” will serve as a warning. Either we can handle this politely, or I can get real Harrison on that ass!!!

 

5/31/11

Steelers James Harrison Says NFL’s Hit Rules are Unclear Even To Referees

A smiling Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker James Harrison

When a player sets up a blog SPECIFICALLY to air out thoughts on ONE issue you know they are FRUSTRATED. Last time this happened, Steelers Running Back Rashard Mendenhall set up a blog clarify his comments on 9/11. Well Mendenhall’s teammate James Harrison has followed suit. Harrison was very clear about his dissatisfaction with the NFL’s hit rules and their strategy of enforcement during the season, and he has not cooled off.

Harrison writes:

Now you have to wait until a guy catches, or even worse, you have to let them catch the ball before you can even attempt to tackle him.  Along with that, you cannot let any part of your helmet or facemask touch any part of them basically from the chest up. If you are following the letter of the rules exactly, now most tackles, if not ALL tackles can be flagged, fined and/or result in ejection from that game, or future game(s).

I understand the intent behind making the rules, but in their attempt to make the game safer, they are actually clouding what is allowable.  Even the referees are confused.  A close look will show you that the referees were calling things that were not even supposed to be called, and NOT calling things that were actually illegal.

Quickly, the background on this blog post is that Harrison called the NFL leadership “idiots” and said the Steelers were being targeted which caused a backlash in the media (as usual). This prompted Harrison to try to do a little damage control. Don’t think this blog post does much in that arena, but this is James Harrison, I don’t expect him to back completely down from what he said.

ESPECIALLY since he seems to say in his post that he has lost respect for Roger Goodell and other NFL leadership such as Ray Anderson, VP of Football Operations, and Merton Hanks the former safety who now has a role in operations that I don’t quite understand to be honest.

Back in January, I wrote about how the NFL was quietly reducing fines that had been doled out for hits. Harrison, himself, had a fine reduced from $75K to 50K. I said then that these sorts of reductions prove the NFL is unsure of it’s own rules. Add that to the fact that is no independent arbiter and you have somewhat of a mess.

Harrison says in his blog post that he thinks there is more to the rules than player safety–I agree, and I would say that “more” is the need for the NFL to appear to care about players. With former players dropping dead left and right and the amount of bodies strewn about at the end of the season, the NFL is lucky to have avoided a full-on PR crisis.

That being said, as I argued before, I think that players like Harrison are better off touting that they will do their best to understand and follow the rules, and when they are called for a hit they believe is unjust, calmly explain why, have their agent appeal and move on with life. “If” the NFL is just keeping the rules for appearances, it might behoove guys like Harrison to play along with the act. After all, the NFL’s image includes the players as much as they may feel disconnected from its leadership.

Just a note, the Steelers were not the primary recipient of NFL hit fines last season, and when I find the breakdown (again) I’ll update this post.

Never thought I’d say this but Warren Sapp summed it up best.

“We took care of each other,” said Sapp, “and that’s what this is all about — taking care of the game, taking care of each other. And if James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley don’t see this, then maybe they need to leave the game. Because the game’s gonna be here a long time after you, and it’s been here a long time before you. So either get on the train or get off.”

Finally, very brief synopsis of the rules approved last week. The rules don’t seem so unclear; however, I will say this. I’d like to hear a player articulate how these rules feel in motion. I do understand momentum arguments but they could be explained better, especially in the context of looking for a legit tackle RATHER than a hit.

 

 

2/7/11

Super Bowl 45: Anticipation, Botched Tunes, Propaganda and a New NFL Superstar

Congrats to the Packers. They lost key players to injury in the Super Bowl and still managed to pull out a victory.

LEAD UP AND PRE-GAME

Let’s start out by saying, I don’t give a damn about the Super Bowl unless my team is playing. I just watch because I love football. The Super Bowl becomes even more of a production every year. Now we’re up to two full weeks of Super Bowl talk all around mainstream media plus a weekend of stories and interviews and flashbacks etc.

I do enjoy “some” of it. But now that the NFL has replaced baseball as America’s sport, the level of attention paid to the Super Bowl from all spheres has become overwhelming. So much so, I really didn’t pay much attention to most of it.

As far as the pre-game was concerned, I get making Super Bowl a distinctly Americans event–we love holidays and nostalgia. But this year’s Super Bowl was full of unwelcome and uncomfortable propaganda. All sorts of lines about “freedom” and “independence” read by players, coaches, and military men and women, among others. It felt like it was airing on the history channel, only the Fox News version where there are colonies and colonizers but no small pox blankets or slaves.

In fact, they actually talked about the colonies. Awkward. The tone of pre-game production wasn’t my cup of tea. I suggest the NFL keep the history references to a minimum unless they’re referring to the evolution of the game.

The National Anthem And Whatnot

In a show of shameless promotion, Fox decided to have Lea Michele from the sitcom(?) “Glee” sing “America the Beautiful.” Unfortunately, it sounded ugly. Too bad the NFL doesn’t have any Canadian expansion teams, cause that would have been a good reason to drag Tamia out to sing “Oh Canada.” ANYTHING would have been better.

Christina Aguilera’s rendition of the Star-spangled Banner was simply awful! She oversang, messed up the words, and looked like a goth blob. Most people who sing the anthem choose to pre-record. That eliminates these sorts of embarrassments. But alas she sung her rendition live. I’m sure she wishes she had a time machine.

Speaking of the anthem, Americans will bet on anything, and by anything I mean the over/under on how long it would take Aguilera to finish the national anthem. The two big gambling sites bodog.com and Bookmaker.com clocked the time differently (1:53.7 and 1:54.2 respectively), sending the online gambling world into a frenzy.

I may or may not be exaggerating.

HALFTIME

I thought the Black Eyed Peas did a good job but they put quantity over quality, opting for a effect-driven show rather than a talent-driven one. 500 dancers and I don’t even know how many songs were in their medley–7 maybe? They also bought out both Slash and Usher. I thought both were great, but Fergie’s singing wasn’t as good as it normally is and the songs jumped genres and had no real flow.

But luckily I like their party music, so I jigged a little and was satisfied for the most part. I think if you like BEP, generally speaking, the performance was good, if you don’t it was a tragic mistake.

Kind of hard to please anyone who’s seen Michael Jackson and Prince perform at halftime.

THE GAME

The first quarter simply wasn’t competitive. The Packers ran over the Steelers scoring two quick touch downs. The rest of the game was much better, but turnovers and dropped balls pervaded it making the energy a bit uneven.  Still a a good game overall (probably not in the top 10 of those I’ve seen in my lifetime though).

I remain kind of in disbelief that defensive titans Harrison, Polamalu, Farrior, and Clark made very little impact on the game.The Packers Defense played well–they looked confused for a bit after CB Charles Woodson left the game with a broken collar bone, but eventually pulled themselves back together and continued to apply pressure.

Ben Roethlisberger made some crucial errors and turnovers including 2 interceptions. The Packers converted Steelers’ turnovers into 21 points, and I think that really tells a lot of the story. Rodgers looked to be heading into his normal bad-second-half routine that he’s had throughout this year’s playoffs but it didn’t last very long. He really put together a good game.

RODGERS VS. FAVRE

I think it would be a nice gesture if Favre called Rodgers personally to congratulate him. Favre has been a hard act to follow in terms of winning the hearts and minds of fans. But as you can see from Rodgers’ play this year and Favre’s stints with the Jets and Vikings, the Packers made the right choice in sticking with Rodgers.

I’m sure Packers fans will have no problem coming to terms with this now that that they have another Lombardi trophy to show for it. Besides, after only 3 years they have a QB that gets to be in the ranks of the “chosen ones” that analysts shower with deference and positivity. A land where no black man shall ever live. Just one more thing to celebrate.

DEPRESSION

I do watch other sports; however football is the only sport that matters. The lockout that is looming is like a dark cloud over my life. Speaking of life, unfortunately, with football season over I have to get one.

I’m glad that the combine is coming up soon because that’s always a good time, well, to me anyway.

Even though the season is over I will still be busy on this blog. It’s in the process of being redesigned and I’m working on some special projects to introduce that will make next football season even more fun for me and hopefully for my readers as well.

1/17/11

Could $400 Stand Between a Player and A Concussion? Also, A Funny Quip on Acupuncture

I thought I’d been doing a great job staying up on some of the more technical things going on related to the NFL…helmet design, affects of concussions and that sort of thing. But yesterday @and1grad and @Milkipedia mentioned the subject of mouth guards and how some say it could prevent a player from getting a concussion.

I did some research, and this discussion has been taking place since 2006 with blogs and even ESPN covering the fact that the NFL has resisted investing any money into the research to see how effective the use of a specific type of mouthguard would be in concussion prevention.

That’s not surprising.

But what is surprising is that the mouth guards recommended by Tufts Dental School (the source of the research), only cost $400 (well at least at the time of the Bleacher article in 2007).

At $395, the guard fits on the back molars and is comprised of an acrylic mold held together by three stainless steel bands, which rest behind the teeth.

“The biggest thing is it is extremely doctor-patient sensitive,” Maher said. “You have to diagnose correctly and put the jaw in the right position.”

During his 20-plus years promoting the mouthpiece, Maher said he has worked with 200-300 Patriots players and nearly 1,000 people overall, with positive results.

Still, both he and Mehta are quick to stress that the mouth guard could only lessen concussions endured from blows to the jaw—not for hits directly to the helmet or neck.

Here’s my thinking, regardless of whether the research is totally proven, if this kind of mouthpiece can’t hurt, I say buy one if it possible. I’d buy one for my brother/cousin/uncle etc. if he were playing in the NFL. I figure it can’t hurt–even if it only helps insofar as the blow is to the jaw. As far as I know the NFL doesn’t require mouth pieces nor do they require a specific kind. Definitely correct me if I’m wrong.

With the rate of former players experiencing neurological and psychological problems ranging from very early dementia to depression, this is something I’d like to know more about.

I guess the biggest issue here might be how informed the players are about stuff like this. I think most players like to bury their heads in the sand on many topics related to their health. But if something that is about the price of a bottle of champagne could possibly maybe might in some way help me, I’d get into it.

It’s kind of nice to see players getting to know their bodies better and getting open to new things. I loved this acupuncture article! The acupuncturist is working with 40 NFL players and it’s quite an interesting story. And lots of players from Darren Sharper to Kerry Rhodes sleep in hyperbaric chambers (which I personally find to be horrifying), so the interest in all forms of prevention and recovery is there.

From the acupuncture article this was hilarious:

Steelers linebacker James Harrison takes more than 300 needles, and Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora begs for fewer than 40. Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis hates needles and grips the table as if under attack.

HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAH Does it surprise anyone that Harrison is tough?

On a side note, I thought these bits of info were interesting from the ESPN article on mouthguards:

Maher has been working on mouthpieces since the late 1970s, when he first started to talk with local legend (and patient) Marvin Hagler about why some boxers can take a punch while others have glass jaws. In adapting mouthguards for football players over the years, Maher has developed a protective device that looks and feels like a retainer. Two small pieces of acrylic, joined by stainless steel bands, fit securely onto to the lower molars. That leaves more room to talk and breathe than traditional “bite-and-boil” upper mouthpieces.

Maher is not the first person to suggest that mouthguards can prevent head injuries in football. In 1963, a team of dentists outfitted Notre Dame with custom-made pieces and reported a dramatic decrease in concussions. Today, the NCAA mandates mouthguards for all its football players. The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend them for high school players, too, in part because they “may reduce the severity and incidence of concussions.” Last season, more than 2,000 football players in the Philadelphia school system wore “Brain-Pads,” mouthpieces that are not custom-fitted but are designed to be clenched between the upper and lower teeth.

1/3/11

NFL Quietly Reducing or Reversing Many Illegal Hit Fines

The NFLPA has been appealing all the fines that have been levied against players for hits. And, quietly, the NFL has been steadily reversing or reducing many of the penalties. To me, this could be one of the biggest stories of the season and a sign that the NFL isn’t quite as confident in its new tact on hit rules as previous assumed.

The NFL has reduced the fines for Atlanta’s Dunta Robinson and New England’s Brandon Meriweather, both cited for flagrant hits against defenseless receivers.

Robinson’s fine was reduced by the league’s appeals officer, Ted Cottrell, from $50,000 to $25,000. Meriweather’s went from $50,000 to $40,000.

Robinson’s hit on Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson left both with concussions, and Meriweather picked up a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness after hitting Baltimore tight end Todd Heap in the head.

The Steelers have been, by far, are the team with the most issues with the rule and they continue to plead their case to the public as well as NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith.

It appears the work by Smith and the union earned linebacker James Harrison some measure of satisfaction, although not as much as he would have liked. Thursday, the NFL announced that it had reduced his $75,000 fine, the largest in the league, to $50,000 for his hit Oct. 17 on Cleveland wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi.

It brings Harrison’s total in four fines this season down to $100,000, and Bill Parise, his agent, has an appeal scheduled Tuesday to reduce the $25,000 fine the NFL levied for a hit Nov. 28 on Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The reversals are also important because the NFL does not have independent arbitrators to decide such matters such as is the case with the NBA and MLB. You have to think that at some point the NFL will want to strike the right note here.

As for Smith, he points out that he represents both “the guy who delivered the hit and the guy who received it.” But given the fact that many of these hits have been on defenseless receivers I have to wonder how much fighting the amount of EVERY fine levied is fair. Robinson’s hit on Jackson seemed 50K worth to me, reducing it to 25K further proves the need for the arbitrator and clear rules–not the need for lesser fines.

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