Flavell: Calm it on the Harrison hate

Posted on Dec 28 2017 - 1:01pm by Cody Flavell
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James Harrison has gotten a lot of undeserved hate the past few days. (Photo: Keith Srakocic/Associated Press)

Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers have voiced their disappointment of the Steelers since they released linebacker James Harrison on Saturday afternoon when they were forced to activate tackle Marcus Gilbert.

They all feared that the New England Patriots would inevitably scoop him up when he cleared waivers. Tuesday afternoon, the fear became reality.

Ever since, fans, and now players, have become very vocal in their ever-changing opinions of the Steelers legend, which begs the question: Should we cool it a bit on all this James Harrison hate?

I understand how frustrating it may be for most of you that he would go from Pittsburgh to probably now the biggest rival in Steelers’ fans eyes. Can you fault the man for wanting to play?

If this is Harrison’s final year, it would be kind of disappointing for him to have sat the entire season. He played 40 snaps for the team where most came against the Kansas City Chiefs and Eric Fisher who Harrison has tortured.

The Steelers have made it clear they are going with TJ Watt and Bud Dupree as the outside guys, a much younger tandem.

It was made public Wednesday that Harrison had asked for his release three different times and the Steelers were finally able to grant it. What would you do if you are unhappy in you workplace because they diminished your role? You’d seek new employment.

Only, in sports fans’ eyes, it’s illegal to do such a thing. Football is what Harrison loves to do and he wasn’t doing that in Pittsburgh.

Do you think they care that New England picked him up? They knew it was a very, very high possibility that he’d end up there. If he was still the same “Deebo,” he would’ve started over Watt or Dupree. He simply is aging and father time doesn’t lose.

If the Steelers and Patriots meet again like is expected then maybe Harrison makes an impact but it won’t change the game. The Steelers mindset won’t change.

Dupree and center Maurkice Pouncey, among others, voiced their opinions yesterday on the matter and had a lot to say.

Dupree: “I don’t want the media to portray that we are the reason he left, the Steelers are the reason he left. That isn’t the reason. He chose to leave.”

Pouncey: “Do you think the organization wanted to get rid of James Harrison? Nah. Let’s be serious. Come on, man.”

Gilbert: “He was, at one point, a great teammate but when you look around, you say, ‘was he really that great not to be there for his teammates?’ I could never (screw) over my teammates like that.”

I understand, he may not have been the best teammate and no one needs that in their locker room. Especially considering he left the sidelines in Indianapolis and left the stadium early against Cincinnati.

Let me pose this question to you: Do you truly believe that the Steelers and the fans would turn the cold shoulder if Harrison rode off into the sunset or went to anybody but an AFC North rival or the Patriots? Truthfully, I don’t think so.

This stems fro the hate of the Patriots, the worry he’s going to give away the playbook, the fear he’s going to be the difference maker in a potential AFC Championship game.

Relax.

Remember the good times.

He leads the franchise all-time in sacks. He had one of the  most iconic interceptions in Super Bowl history.He won Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. He is a sure-fire Hall of Famer that will go down as one of the most feared linebackers to play the game.

Listen to the players of the Steelers players all you want, but just realize that he was once the cornerstone of a front-7 that made a lot of opposing offense’s scared. Harrison did a lot more good than bad so cool it on the hate. He’s a Patriot now.

As Mike Tomlin frequently says: “We don’t live in our fears.”

No, the Steelers don’t. Harrison in a Patriots jersey doesn’t change that.

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