Anyone who seriously reports on James Harrison “quitting” the NFL is playing dumb. Nobody actually thinks the dude is quitting. I am a bit surprised that someone who has been spouting off at the mouth so vociferously since knocking two players out of last Sunday’s game would pull the drama queen card out of his wallet. After reading his ignorant quotes for a few days, it seems like a really tough sell. For those keeping score at home, James Harrison is attempting to paint himself as the poor little victim because he doesn’t know if his aggressive style can mesh with the rules of the game.
This is a far cry from his feeble attempts to explain the difference between being hurt and being injured that he was trying to sell since Sunday’s game ended.
Don’t think for a second that I don’t understand that line of thinking either. There is a big difference between hurting and injuring a player. Let me help Harrison understand how his thinking is flawed though.
I would love to have Marcus Benard come flying around the outside this week, catch Drew Brees napping and sack him with a driving shoulder to the mid-section. Hopefully he throws an interception or fumbles. If it knocks him out of the game, so be it. That is part of the game as James Harrison was saying. I know the NFL didn’t fine Harrison for the Cribbs hit, but let’s talk about that one anyway. Regardless of what they said about the Cribbs hit being “legal” it doesn’t pass the eye test that we have all grown accustomed to. James Harrison led with his helmet, struck Cribbs in the side of the helmet while he was in the grasp of another defender and then Cribbs’ head ping-ponged back and forth as he seemingly lost consciousness. He dropped the ball and dropped to the turf.
When we think of separating the man from the ball, that is not what we are supposed to think of no matter how many “JACKED UP!” segments we see at halftime on Monday Night Football. A helmet or shoulder to the mid-section where the ball is secured is what we think of. Knocking a man out so that he loses consciousness and then drops the ball isn’t a fumble as much as it is a finishing move in the UFC. The spirit of the game is not to knock a guy out due to head injury. As we have learned over the last few years, that is cheap, easy, and wholly destructive to careers via concussions. The point is to hit him hard as you wrap up. If you want to gamble and go for the strip while doing that, then go for it. The only thing that you can’t do is go for another player’s head and use your helmet as a weapon. Harrison did both of those things on both plays with Cribbs and Massaquoi. Now he is pretending he is going to retire.
I have tried really hard to put the shoe on the other foot and imagine what it would be like if James Harrison was our guy. I think that as Browns fans we are in a unique position to do that considering what happened with TJ Ward and Jordan Shipley against Cincinnati. We had to learn that even in leading with your shoulder these defenders must avoid the head in order for it to be a good play. That means getting there earlier so you can make a play on the ball. It means being in a better position so you can get your hands in the way of him securing the ball.
I am quite confident that James Harrison with all his ability and talents can make the adjustment. First though he has to stop the disingenuous whining and feeling sorry for himself.