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Thread: Silverback, the James Harrison Story

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  1. #1
    Awaiting Seven...
    Sir Blitzelot's Avatar
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    Feb 2009

    Silverback, the James Harrison Story

    He is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and is a main staple in what is known as “The Steel Curtain II” defense. He has recorded 24 ½ sacks the last two seasons. Not to mention, he is a two-time Super Bowl champion, and the scary thing is he just finished only his second year as a starter. James Harrison is a household name in Pittsburgh, and across the NFL. Little do people know, Harrison’s career in the National Football League has been full of ups and downs, and his road to glory has been anything but easy. But, with the nickname “Silverback”, one would have to believe Harrison has to have thick skin to handle the adversity he has faced throughout his career.

    James Harrison played his college football at Kent State, and went undrafted in the 2002 NFL Draft. Harrison came to the Steelers as a rookie and was signed on to the practice squad. Harrison’s lack of speed and small stature led many to believe that he could not be a player in the NFL. He also had difficulty grasping the complexity of the playbook. The Steelers would cut Harrison during training camp of that season. In fact, Harrison would end up being cut a total of four times over the next two seasons, three times by the Pittsburgh Steelers and once by the Baltimore Ravens. After being cut the fourth time, Harrison believed that his dream of playing in the NFL may never take shape. He would pursue a career in truck driving, and received a commercial driver's license.

    In 2004, Steelers’ linebacker, Clark Haggans, suffered an injury while weight lifting. The Steelers had a problem; they needed a linebacker before training camp started. This led to James Harrison returning to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a fourth time, and this time, he was there to stay. For the next two seasons Harrison found his role playing special teams. He recorded three tackles in Super Bowl XL, to win his first Super Bowl ring. During his time playing special teams, Harrison may best be known for his “tackle” on a Cleveland Browns fan that ran onto the field and interfered with the game between the Steelers and Browns on Christmas Eve, 2005.

    The start of the 2007 season saw a new regime begin with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The retirement of Bill Cowher, brought rookie head coach, Mike Tomlin, to the city of Pittsburgh. New leadership meant the departure of some players from the Bill Cowher era. One of these players was all-pro linebacker, Joey Porter. The controversial release of Porter gave Harrison exactly what he had been waiting for, for three years, a starting job in the NFL. Harrison replaced Porter at the outside linebacker position. It was on November 5th, 2007, when the world was introduced to James Harrison. In a Monday Night Football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Harrison had 3 ½ sacks, caused two fumbles and had an interception. The Steelers went on to defeat their division rival in a 38-7 blowout. Harrison went on to have an impressive season posting over 60 tackles, and having 8 ½ sacks.

    The 2008 season was one for the ages for James Harrison and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was such a dominating force all season, and was absolutely unstoppable at times. Harrison set a new all-time sack record for the Pittsburgh Steelers with sixteen to his name. He was also a turnover machine, forcing a total of seven fumbles. In 2008, James Harrison earned the much deserving, Defensive Player of the Year Award. He is the first undrafted player to ever win the award. Even with the winning of such a prestigious award, Harrison’s 2008 season will be most remembered for what he did on the grandest stage of them all, Super Bowl XLIII. With the Steelers leading 10-7 late in the second quarter, the Arizona Cardinals were driving deep in to Pittsburgh territory with a chance to take the lead at halftime. What would follow will live in Pittsburgh Steelers’ folklore forever. Quarterback, Kurt Warner, threw a pass in the end zone that was intercepted by James Harrison, and returned 100 yards for a touchdown, the longest play in the history of the Super Bowl.

    The story of James Harrison is truly an amazing one. From an undrafted rookie, who nobody thought could play in the league, to a two-time Super Bowl champion, 2008 Defensive Player of the Year, and whose name will live in NFL history books for years to come. I believe at this time, it is a safe bet to say this story is heading towards having a happy ending.

    Michael C. Smith aka MCS513

  2. #2
    Rookie Free Agent Andalusi's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    Hialeah, Florida
    Thanks so much for the article, it was really good and very informative. As a new fan it was specially usefull to learn so much about one of the players. I am so glad for him that he got yet another chance and so gratefull that he was there for us this past Super Bowl. Thanks again

  3. #3
    AZ_Steeler's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Porter was great and used his mouth to get the team fired up, but he was hit or miss on backing his mouth up. Now that Harrison has taken over his spot, to me, Joey is really a forgotten name in Pittsburgh When you look at everything Harrison has done since taking over it's hard to find anything to complain about or even gripe about with the release of Porter.

  4. #4
    Draft Pick vtwin_gary's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    LA (lower Alabama) a.k.a. Florida
    Quote Originally Posted by AZ_Steeler View Post
    it's hard to find anything to complain about or even gripe about with the release
    this happens with the steelers often

  5. #5
    steelers4life66's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
    Myrtle Beach SC
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    James is da man!!!

  6. #6
    Rookie Free Agent
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    Jul 2009
    Joey's forgotten Harrison rules. Harrison is the right guy for Mike Tomlin and brings something special to that team that Joey never could.

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