It appears that James Harrison was not the best veteran to have mentor the Steelers rookies. After Harrison signed with the Patriots on Tuesday several Steelers players have come forward to blast their former teammate.
Yesterday, Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree described why Harrison was a nightmare teammate.
Dupree said Harrison would leave the stadium as soon as he found out he was inactive the past four or five weeks, often didn’t practice or attend meetings and rarely would come in the locker room. Said he wouldn’t visit Ryan Shazier in hospital, either.
— Paul Zeise (@PaulZeise) December 27, 2017
via CBS Sports
“People going in on coach [Mike] Tomlin, saying the Steelers are stupid for cutting James Harrison, the Steelers are dumb, [Harrison’s] gonna tell the whole — if he tells the whole playbook, that’s his fault,” DuPree said. “I didn’t see him in meetings, so I don’t know if he knows the plays or not.”
“It feels like he went to the Patriots just to spit in Coach Tomlin and Mr. Rooney’s face. That’s all it was to us,” Dupree said. “Like basically you spit on your teammates, you spit on us because the whole season you’ve been shown as someone different than what you were supposed to, so-called, be to us — other than a leader.”
“When someone really doesn’t want to share wisdom with you or share knowledge with you because they feel like you’re gonna take their shine or take their limelight, that’s how we feel,” DuPree said. “We tried to hold back as much as we could because we didn’t wanna jeopardize making him look bad.”
According to Dupree, Steelers players would get mad at Harrison for posting Instagram videos showing off in the weight room and making them look bad.
“It’s not that we don’t choose to work out like [Harrison works] out,” . “The strength coaches, they won’t even allow us to lift how he lifts. He’s in the weight room, making all those videos before practice, calling us out. Now you’re making them look at us, like, so me and T.J. aren’t supposed to be playing? That’s just how we feel.”
One player told ESPN’s Jeremy Fownler that Harrison would fall asleep and snore during team meetings.
Among ways Harrison tried to get himself out of Pittsburgh, one team source said Harrison was known to sleep in a recliner chair during position meetings and snore loudly while Joey Porter would teach.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) December 28, 2017
Harrison ended up firing back at his former teammates by claiming that he made a “business decision.
After the first week of the season, I said to them, it’s clear you want to play your younger guys and I understand, so why don’t you release me,” Harrison said. “You go on your way and I’ll go on mine. They said, ‘No, no, no, we got a role for you.’”
“I explained the situation to [Steelers linebackers coach Joey Porter] and he said, ‘I’m not going to sit here and tell you not to do something when you’re making a business decision,’” Harrison said. “I made a decision based on what was best for me.”
It will be interesting to see how Harrison interacts with his former teammates given they meet up in the AFC Championship game.