There’s no denying James Harrison’s physical presence. The 39 year-old is a former Pro Bowl talent and the Steelers’ all-time sack leader, but in the 15th year of his NFL career he’s gained more notoriety from his insane workout videos than he has from his performance on the field.
It was the first thing Devin McCourty noticed when Harrison entered the locker room on Wednesday after being acquired by the Patriots:
“He’s a well put together human being. Scary-looking some would probably say,” McCourty said.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t been too scary-looking to opposing offenses this season. At least not in the eyes of the Steelers’ coaching staff, who only allowed him to appear in five games so far in 2016.
As someone who still believes he has something left in the tank, Harrison wanted out. So he went to Pittsburgh’s biggest current rival and probably their biggest rival over his 15-year career in which he spent all but one season with the black and yellow. Apparently that didn’t go over well with some of his now former teammates, most notably center Maurkice Pouncey:
“He erased himself; he erased his own legacy here. Let’s be serious,” Pouncey said Wednesday. “It’s crazy. He wanted that. It wasn’t like the team said, ‘We want to let go of James Harrison.’ James Harrison wanted that.”
If you’d like to know what kind of person Maurkice Pouncey is, he and his brother Mike were spotted in a club wearing “Free Hernandez” hats in 2013, just a month after their former University of Florida teammate Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder. What I’m saying is that it’s tough to value his opinion.
But what will Harrison bring to the Patriots as they enter the final week of the regular season? Bill Belichick has no idea, so neither does anyone else. He can certainly help their depleted linebacking corps if he still has enough athleticism and stamina to play on a more consistent basis. The good news is that he’ll only have to play a few more weeks to earn himself his third Super Bowl ring.
Follow Jack Bardsley on Twitter @BostonsBigFour