Harrison's approach remains the same
Friday, April 20, 2007
By Teresa Varley
Whether it's game-day or a voluntary workout in the middle of April, linebacker James Harrison comes to work with the same intensity and focus every day.
And while his focus right now is stepping into the outside linebacker position that opened when Joey Porter was released earlier this off-season, his work ethic is the same as it's been in the past.
"I'm not approaching it any different than I did last year," said Harrison. "I prepared last year as if there was a possibility that I could be a starter. Right now it looks like I will be the starter. My preparation is no different."
Harrison has started eight games for the Steelers over the last three seasons, including stepping in with a moment's notice when Porter was ejected during a pre-game scuffle in Cleveland in 2004. He responded in that game with his first quarterback sack, had six tackles and a pass defense.
If he is the starter this year, one thing that he will be looking forward to is the time to prepare and get the adequate number of repetitions in practice.
"It's a lot different now," said Harrison. "For me going in knowing I would be a starter is a lot better than five minutes before the game saying you are going in. I learn by going through plays. When you are a back-up you don't get those practice plays. It will be a lot better and hopefully it will show on the field in my play.
"Given the proper preparation I can play better than what I shown in the past."
Harrison is no doubt a little more excited this off-season knowing the potential to start, but he also knows that he has to keep his emotions in check, because there is always someone there wanting to take your job.
"You can't let your excitement take you over," he said. "That's not going to do anything for you. You have to prepare yourself to take advantage of that. If you don't do that, all the excitement in the world means nothing because someone else can come in and take your position."
Harrison is looking forward to getting on the field this weekend and fighting for that position when the team has their first mini-camp under head coach Mike Tomlin. After spending the last few weeks running, lifting weights and watching film, practice will be a welcome change for him.
"I am anxious any time I can out there and play football because I enjoy it," said Harrison. "We're looking at film now. That is something we didn't do last year (in the voluntary program). Me personally, I don't like looking at film. It does nothing for me. I have to be in there and do it to learn. That's how I learn, by doing it."