Tuesday, August 31, 2010

James Harrison is the Nastiest Person on the Planet; Troy has Hair Insurance?

I don't think James Harrison was hugged much as a child.

In the past 5 years, Steeler fans have seemingly been treated to the reincarnation of Jack Lambert. We're used to Harrison's tenacity; the fact that he plays football with a permanent chip on his shoulder. We know him for many things in Pittsburgh, some of them being:

The greatest defensive play ever:

His Monday Night Football coming out party:

Harrison destroying a Browns fan back in '05:

Just three out of what seems to be an endless library of James Harrison moments that etched themselves in our memory banks. But there lie a disturbing trend within Harrison's behavior. Many players in NFL history have had a controlled nastiness. Someone like former Buccaneers and Broncos Safety John Lynch, who seemed to try to put anyone that intruded his zone in the hospital, but off the field is a very gentle, soft-spoken person. James Harrison doesn't have that sense, and he's proved that on and off the field.

Let us not forget Harrison's spurning of former President Bush and President Obama after both the recent Steeler Super Bowl victories, and Harrison's domestic violence accusation. However, outside of a couple of on-field, heat-of-the-moment personal fouls, he's never been a dirty player.

In my book, that line was crossed Sunday night.

In the second quarter, Broncos QB Kyle Orton threw an apparent completion to Jabar Gaffney, which Gaffney fumbled (later called back) and the ball was picked up by James Harrison. During Harrison's sideline dash, Orton came low at Harrison, simply trying to take his legs out or push him out of bounds. Did Harrison act like a rational person and step out of bounds, or perhaps try to hurdle Kyle Orton like he did LT a few years back?

No. Instead, he lowered his shoulder and took a dive at Kyle Orton's back/shoulder, with a pretty clear intent to injure. Orton lay on the ground for a minute or so, before returning to the sideline, and eventually, the game. The fact that Orton wasn't seriously injured will brush this incident under the rug at NFL headquarters.

Or maybe not, since James Harrison wasn't done yet.

After the game, Harrison told media outlets that Orton had been running his mouth, and that, "He got what he had coming."

Let me take a minute to remind you that this was a preseason game, and that someone running his mouth isn't exactly the most uncommon thing in football, it's called trash talk. Orton didn't "[have this] coming". He's a well-respected player who plays the quarterback position with grit and heart. What Harrison did was cheap. Plain and simple. In fact, he basically admitted it. Harrison should be reprimanded by the team or the league, whether it be a suspension, fine or both.

You have to play with fire and passion to be an effective linebacker, but those traits don't have to come with cheap shots.

In a much more bizarre story. Head and Shoulders has taken out a $1 million insurance policy on Troy Polamalu's hair. There are no typos in that sentence. If Troy gets tackled by his hair, or maybe his teammates give him the old Tim Tebow treatment, Head and Shoulders will be due a cool million. Pretty solid publicity stunt by them.

9 days until opening night. Way too long.

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