James Harrison has gotten a lot of flak for signing with the Patriots this past Tuesday. The way he exited Pittsburgh has caused some friction between his former teammates. Pouncey went so far as to say James ‘erased his legacy’ as a Steeler. Darren Woodson of ESPN had something similar to say, adding that the loyalty of the Rooney family will most likely not be there for Harrison when it comes time to honor his years as a Steeler.
Though, according to Harrison, the Steelers made promises they never intended to keep. He sought a potential trade after the first week of the regular season, noting the Steelers use of the younger players. The team assured the veteran that they had a role for him to play on defense. But they only ended up giving him minimal snaps in weeks 1,3,6,7 and 14. He didn’t even play in the biggest game of the year against the Pats, a clear message to him that it was time to go.
Let’s be real. A player leaving a team to go to a rival happens in every sport. Here’s some of my most memorable ‘traitors’ from the past:
- Brett Favre: A Green Bay icon, Favre knew his time was coming to an end. He probably already knew how great Aaron Rodgers would be and knew if he stayed in Green Bay he would never start another game. So, he forced a trade to the Jets, but eventually ended up in Minnesota. A no-no when you consider the fact this is a division rivalry.
- Terrell Owens: He spent time in San Francisco and Philly before going to Dallas. This would obviously anger Philly fans, since Dallas is a division rival. Though, who doesn’t hate the Cowboys a.k.a “America’s Team”?
- Johnny Damon: After helping the Sox win their World Series title in 2004, this guy decided to go to the dark side. As a result, he could no longer sport his flowing locks and scruffy beard. Oh, and his performance suffered as well.
- Jacoby Ellsbury: The pretty boy that broke many hearts. After his contribution to the Sox 2013 World Series Championship, he decided to follow in Damon’s footsteps and join the Yankees. I mean, they offered him a 7-year deal for $153 million. Only a fool would turn that down; but still a no-no. His performance has also taken a hit.
- Adam Vinatieri: Everyone in New England loved this guy, and they still do. He was crucial to our Super Bowl Dynasty with all of his clutch kicks as time expired. But when the Pats wouldn’t pay him, he decided to utilize his talents in Indy. This is no longer a rivalry since Peyton left, but it’s worth a mention.
- Claude Julien: I know he isn’t a player, but he committed the ultimate sin. After being let go by the Bruins, he went and accepted a head coaching position with the Montreal Canadiens. I know you were feeling salty, but really Claude? You could’ve gone anywhere else.
My point here: get off Harrison’s back! People are only mad because it was the Patriots but whatever. I really want to see that AFC Championship match up so he can stick it to the Steelers. And if the Pats end up winning it all with his help, then so be it. There’s always next year Pittsburgh (maybe)!