James Harrison has never been one to bite his tongue. He’d rather hit you so hard in the open field that you bite your own tongue... off!
The heavily-fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker opened his mouth again in an interview for the August issue of Men’s Journal, and what came out wasn’t pretty.
Here’s a sample of what Harrison had to say about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell:
“If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it. I hate him and will never respect him.”
Harrison, who coughed up $100,000 for multiple illegal hits last season went on to shower Goodell with the following pet names: “crook,” “devil,” “dictator,” “puppet,” <anti-gay slur> and “stupid.”
And he didn’t stop there...
Harrison went ever NFL executives, former Patriots Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi and teammates Rashard “fumble machine” Mendenhall and Ben “stop trying to act like Peyton Manning” Roethlisberger.
The photo running with the Harrison story (see above) isn’t going to help his image either.
Last year Harrison was the poster child for the NFL’s new enforcement policy designed to discourage helmet-to-helmet hits. The 2008 AP Defensive Player of the Year was docked $75,000 for the below hit on Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaqoui and earned another $20,000 fine for a late hit on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
After the NFL announced its new policy to fine and suspend players for illegal hits, Harrison briefly mulled retirement.
Post Hard Hits blogger and former big-hitting NFL linebacker LaVar Arrington says Harrison crossed the line this time:
“I have no idea what he was thinking, if anything at all, when he decided to speak the words he did about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. But it’s inappropriate, irresponsible, low class, disrespectful and, most important, a horrible example to the people who look up to him.”
In a statement, Steelers President Art Rooney II said he had neither seen the article nor talked to the disgruntled linebacker, but said he would discuss the issue with Harrison “when permitted once the labor situation is resolved.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that Merril Hoge spoke with Roethlisberger, who was contacted by Harrison this morning regarding his inflamatory comments.
According to Roethlisberger, Harrison claims the writer twisted many of his comments and it was not his intention to criticize the QB.
Roethlisberger told Hoge that he is taking Harrison at his word and that their relationship is "fine".