April 24, 2014

James Harrison a Cleveland Brown? No thanks.

photo posted on post-gazette.comWith two seasons left on his contract, the Pittsburgh Steelers released outside linebacker James Harrison. A part of two Super Bowl championship teams in Pittsburgh, with five Pro Bowls, three All-Pro teams and an AP Defensive Player of the Year award, Harrison leaves with quite a resume.

And he can take the resume and the baggage that comes with him to some other team if I had anything to say about it.

An Akron native. A Coventry High School graduate. A Kent State Golden Flash.

All true statements about Harrison. But so is this one: cheap shot artist.

He’s a player that has said he won’t let the new rules change how he plays the game. Which is to say he will continue to target the head, no matter how many fines or suspensions or number of times he gets called to the principal’s office. A principal that Harrison has gone on record to describe as such. [Read more...]

Steelers cut Browns nemesis James Harrison

James Harrison has left a trail of broken bodies in Cleveland and I’m not just talking about guys on the roster. Sure, Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs and Colt McCoy took their bumps (videos,) but remember that James Harrison also suplexed an unruly Browns fan who ran on the field during a game.

Well now, James Harrison is no longer a member of the Steelers.

As Harrison is set to turn 35 years old in May, he apparently wouldn’t agree to cut his salary back from the approximate $6.5 million he was set to make in 2013. His knees were also giving him problems over the last few years.

There are enough teams converting to the 3-4 and enough teams that might not mind taking a chance on an older Harrison assuming they don’t need him to play full time anymore. It will be interesting to see just how much money Harrison gets and from which team.

For whatever reason, I really don’t expect the Browns to be that team.

[Related: WFNY Podcast – 2013-02-15 – @SteelersDepot talking Browns and the rest of the AFC North]

Animated: James Harrison personal foul headshot on Thaddeus Lewis

In case you missed it and want to follow along as the NFL offices levy fines against the notorious James Harrison, here is his all-too-typical hit on Browns quarterback Thaddeus Lewis.

 

[Related: Cabot: Shurmur, Heckert “Expected To Be Fired” Following Pittsburgh Game]

Steeler returned to field after he “woke up”

The Pittsburgh Steelers could find themselves in hot water with the NFL regarding concussions, but this time it isn’t because James Harrison delivered one. Running back Chris Rainey was momentarily unconscious after a collision with Indianapolis Colt corner Jerraud Powers. See if any of this sounds familiar.

“I didn’t examine (him),” Tomlin said. “I just go with the doctors. They said he was fine to come back, so we played him.”

On the heels of the Colt McCoy situation, Rainey’s own account now sounds eerie considering how much we’ve come to understand concussions and head injuries in the past year.

“I woke up, and I’m still here,” said Rainey, who rushed six times for 20 yards and returned kickoffs. “I thought he dove at my head, and I thought there was a penalty.”

“I kept slipping on cuts, and I dropped a couple of passes. I didn’t like it. I’m taking all the opportunities I can, and sometimes you’ve got to deal with getting hit.”

I don’t know if this means the NFL’s newly instituted system isn’t working or if they need to step up education in certain cities. The Steelers would seem to be pretty likely culprits because their players continually fail to understand what kinds of hits are legal, even after repeat offenses drawing fines and suspensions.

James Harrison’s hits are legendary here in Cleveland. In the same game that Rainey returned in, Steelers linebacker Larry Foote knocked an already-wrapped up Austin Collie out of the game with what appeared to be an unnecessary shoulder to the helmet as he was being tackled. Even if Foote is fined, the play stood and Collie’s catch was reversed on a replay challenge by coach Mike Tomlin.

[Related: Not Breaking News: Steelers’ Harrison Doesn’t Understand the Rules]

Colt McCoy Doesn’t Remember James Harrison Hit

In a Friday morning interview with long-time sports talkshow host Dan Patrick, Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy said that he has no recollection the infamous concussion-inducing hit by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison.

“I don’t remember the hit but I’ve seen it several times,” McCoy said. “I know the things that happened up to that point but from the hit, beyond that I don’t remember much.”

McCoy sustained the blow late in the contest and was sent back in with the team having claimed that they took the proper procedures. Claims would later be made that no one on the Browns sideline saw the hit and that they were simply listening to the player who said that he was suitable for re-entry.

Following a 4-12 season, the Browns opted to use a first-round draft selection on Brandon Weeden, a player who is expected to obtain McCoy’s starting job under center. In his interview with Patrick, however, McCoy would repeat that there is an open competition in Berea and that he is taking advantage of his first full off-season as an NFL quarterback.

“From my perspective I don’t want to make this about me vs. another guy,” McCoy said. “I’d much rather talk about what’s going to help the Browns this fall win football games. At the end of the day that’s all that really matters, that’s all the fans really care about, and that’s all our organization cares about I hope is whatever is best for our football team to win games.

With specific regard to the hit by Harrison, McCoy said he’s recovered and hasn’t experienced any symptons.

“My body feels as good as it’s felt in a long time.”

[Related: Could the Browns offense benefit from contract years?]

Bounties are wrong, but it doesn’t really bother me that much

To me, morality is fine, but fake morality isn’t.

I’d be lying to all of you if I proclaimed that the bounties that are being reported for knocking players out of NFL games is shocking or even all that bothersome. In fact, it is so unsurprising that I am a little bit shocked it has come up and become an actual issue to the extent that it is the last few days. Is it wrong? Yeah. Of course it is. I hate to see guys get knocked out of games. Ultimately it just doesn’t seem like something that was causing big, bad defensive players to do anything that they wouldn’t have been trying to do anyway.

The hit on Kurt Warner by Bobby McCray does in fact look worse once you find out about the bounty program allegedly in place at the time. It does seem a bit dirtier knowing that McCray might have gained financially from the hit. Does it really matter that he got paid though? It was a vicious hit regardless and the real problem in my mind were the rules and the way that Gregg Williams was coaching his guys. [Read more...]

No Excuses and Plenty of Blame in Colt McCoy Concussion Case

I was hoping after the Peyton Hillis situation finally went away that the Browns would be finished for this season with unnecessary non-football storylines for the year.  Technically, I guess sustaining a concussion on the football field is football-related, but the way Colt McCoy’s head injury has escaped the confines of game day and Berea puts it in the unnecessary distraction category as far as I’m concerned.  So, what happened?

Colt McCoy was victimized by one of the dirtiest hit artists in the NFL with a blatantly illegal slobber-knocker of a shot, helmet-to-helmet style.  Thanks James Harrison.  Even worse than the hit is the lack of understanding by the guy that rules were broken.  As we delve into the other stuff, let’s not forget the catalyst to all this garbage.  The Browns apparently checked Colt McCoy’s finger as he sat out two plays.  He (also apparently) went back in with a concussion.  The Browns lost the game and Colt McCoy seemed wholly out of it in his post-game interviews.  I heard (I believe on the radio) that Evan Moore had to drive Colt home after they got back to Berea from Pittsburgh.  The next day, Mary Kay Cabot reports that Colt McCoy’s father is indicating that Colt never should have gone back in that game because he doesn’t remember the rest of it.  McCoy is sent home from Berea with concussion-like symptoms.

Another mess. [Read more...]

Possible Suspension and League Review Reported In Response To Harrison Hit On McCoy

I was at the game on Thursday in Pittsburgh, seated approximately twenty rows from the top of the stadium.  Our seats were on the opposite side of the field from where the Harrison hit on McCoy took place.

Without assistance of binoculars, the jumbotron, or slow motion replay from our living rooms, we all stood completely silent after McCoy was leveled.  My friend next to me then said, “I think Colt McCoy just got killed.”

Obviously he survived without any known major injuries at this time, and thank all things good for that.  But that was the way that hit felt inside the stadium, standing nowhere near the field of play.

I’ve never seen a hit like that before, and I had a hard time bemoaning the interception Colt then threw a handful of plays later as a result.  I couldn’t believe the kid was even standing, let along playing.

I don’t mean to say that in an attempt to infer any type of judgement on Harrison, McCoy as a Quarterback, or the Browns coaching staff for allowing him to go back out there and play afterwards either.  That was just my perspective on things from Section 517, Row X, seat number 2, for whatever little that may be worth.

Earlier today, Adam Shefter tweeted that the NFL is considering suspending Harrison for that hit on Thursday: [Read more...]

Not Breaking News: Steelers’ Harrison Doesn’t Understand the Rules

“From what I understand, once the quarterback leaves the pocket, he’s considered a runner,” Harrison said. “All the defenseless(ness) and liberties that a quarterback has in the pocket are gone and you can tackle him just as he’s a running back. The hit wasn’t late, so I really don’t understand why it was called.” -James Harrison

Um, because you tried to put the crown of your helmet through McCoy’s jaw. That’s why.

How that isn’t clear after last year’s game against Cleveland is a mystery. You know, the game in which he knocked Massaquoi out of the game with a concussion on a helmet to helmet hit. One in which he was fined $75,000.

But here’s what really gets me- for as much as the Steelers are a premiere organization in just about every way, instead of getting Harrison to understand the rule and abide by it, they simply cry foul and imply that the refs in some way have it out for them.

Yahoo’s Chris Chase has it nailed in his analysis here- [Read more...]

How Will the Steelers React to James Harrison’s Rant?

Playing in the AFC North comes with a special set of challenges in the NFL because of how well run the Steelers have been historically.  Many Browns fans wish that the Browns had a fraction of the leadership and culture that the Steelers have had as they have won Super Bowls over the years.  This culture is often defined by not only drafting and developing players, but also knowing when to say goodbye to them.  We aren’t just talking about run of the mill players either.  This isn’t like the Browns saying goodbye to Mike Sellers.  The Steelers have been willing to wave goodbye to some really talented players over the years.  With that in mind, it will be interesting to see what – if anything – the Steelers do with James Harrison who has called Roger Goodell a “crook” and a “devil,” while also ripping teammates Rashard Mendenhall and Ben Roethlisberger in an interview with Men’s Journal.

Oh, and he also decided posing in a menacing fashion brandishing firearms was the image that he wanted to project for himself, so there’s that. [Read more...]

Colt McCoy Talks Browns, Steelers on The Dan Patrick Show

Dan Patrick caught up with Colt McCoy today on his radio show, and in case you missed it, I wanted to run down some of the stuff that Colt had to say.  If you would like to listen to the entire segment, you can do that on DanPatrick.com

DP: “Are you the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns?”

CM: “Well, I finished the season as the starting quarterback, so I hope so.”

DP: “Do you have a business card that says, ‘Colt McCoy – Starting Quarterback’?”

CM: “No, I don’t.  I just work hard every day, go to work, and know that I am the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.”

DP: “Have you been told that?”

CM: “(laughing) I’m on the hot seat already.  It was unfortunate that I got hurt, but I think that was the intent to finish off the season….”

DP: “Who has bigger arms… Peyton Hillis or Joe Thomas?” [Read more...]

The NFL, Injuries, Cutler and Cribbs

The culture of the NFL opens the league to a wide variety of opposite forces.  Players want to be viewed as warriors.  The league uses slow motion highlights to paint them that way.  Companies like Nike and Under Armour do everything they can to paint them that way too.  Ronnie Lott’s legend couldn’t be bigger because he chose amputation of his finger in order to keep playing.  Has it gone too far now?

Yesterday Jay Cutler left a playoff game with an apparent knee injury and the questions started flying about whether he was tough or not.  During the late game yesterday, I got caught up in it and cracked about LaDainian Tomlinson actually playing in the Jets game after standing on the sideline injured as a member of the San Diego Chargers.   [Read more...]

Week 17 Open Thread: Steelers at Browns

And here we are folks, the NFL season comes to an end today for the Cleveland Browns (5-10) as they host the playoff-bound Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4) at 1 p.m. It is a rematch of a Pittsburgh win earlier in the season, and the Browns will hope to match their record from last year with another upset. Colt McCoy will get an opportunity for his third win against a playoff team, but he will be tested against James Harrison and the always stingy Steelers defense. We shall see how this outcome also affects offseason feelings, much like last year’s win over Pittsburgh spurred optimism heading into the Mike Holmgren era.

As always, stick with WFNY for your in-game comments and travel around the site for all the preview materials. “The Browns Will Win If…” and Craig’s intel info are the essentials, and we shall see again shortly after this game about the fate of head coach Eric Mangini.

James Harrison Is Whining, Not Quitting

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. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Fast Frontcourt, Commercial Cliff, Helmet-to-Helmet Profits

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com

Things are happening: “Okay, I’m a little bit excited. I’m not going to lie. This is the first look we got at the Hickson-Varejao starting tandem, and it went very, very well.

This is the best way to get excited about the season: a Moon/Hickson/Varejao frontcourt features three players who will be either faster or more athletic than their counterpart nearly every single night, and Byron Scott wants to exploit that advantage. (If the starting backcourt was Sessions/Williams, the Cavs would have a speed advantage at nearly every position, but I do begrudgingly concede that the real NBA isn’t NBA 2K. Still, I want to see Sessions running point with Mo at the two-guard.)” [Cavs the Blog]

[Read more...]

Harrison’s Postgame Comments Show Ambivalence, Ignorance

In a game that should be known for the return of Ben Roethlisberger, Colt McCoy’s first start in the NFL or even the continued exploitation of cornerback Eric Wright, we unfortunately have a Browns blowout loss that is blemished by the helmet-to-helmet tackling of Pittsburgh’s James Harrison. 

And while we have done our fair share of coverage on the topic over the last few hours, Harrison has done himself no favors with his postgame quotes on the topic – one which led to two concussed Browns receivers, two of the several players who were the victim of similar brutal hits in their respective games. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… James Harrison, Helmet-to-Helmet Headhunter

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com

Paging Roger Goodell: “It’s time to decide, NFL: You’re either serious about the concussion issue or you’re not. If you are, something needs to happen to Harrison here. A substantial fine, at the very least. A suspension is preferable. And the officials shouldn’t go without some kind of reprimand, either.

And I know that some of you are thinking, “It’s football! Hits like that are part of the game!” My response to that is yes, you’re right, hits like that are a part of the game, but that is precisely the problem.” [Shutdown Corner]

[Read more...]

James Harrison is a Repeat Offender

Hours after the game, one thing really sticks out in my mind.  Again, I don’t want you to think I have a vendetta against James Harrison.  I don’t.  I am almost more upset with the referees who have failed to throw flags.  After doing a bit of research, I uncovered this body slam of Vince Young by James Harrison which I had already forgotten.  On September 19th James Harrison picked up Vince Young and suplexed him to the turf.  I will note that Harrison was NOT flagged on this play either.

In fact, according to The National Football Post, Harrison was fined $5000 … and then named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.  Granted, Harrison had a great game including 11 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a tackle for a loss.  Despite his production, he committed a penalty that is supposed to be frowned upon, and yet referees didn’t even throw a flag.  Harrison wasn’t flagged on either hit this Sunday, and the NFL owes the fans an explanation. Will they suspend Harrison because of his multiple offenses this season?

Videos of all the hits below… [Read more...]

McCoy Plays Well In Loss to Steelers

I will still say that there is no such thing as a moral victory in the NFL.  There is certainly no moral victory when you lose to a divisional rival like the Steelers 28-10, no matter how much of an underdog your team might be.  And so the Browns lose on a day when Browns fans should see a positive first outing from Colt McCoy despite two interceptions.  Browns fans can unite in anger at a lack of penalties called against James Harrison.  Browns fans should be able to unite in the fact that the Browns again went out and played what felt like a very competent game against one of the very best teams in the league.  None of this makes the loss “OK” but it is still nice to see some progress.

First things first, let’s talk about Eric Mangini.  I know a lot of you hate him. I even get it to an extent.  You never get a second chance to make a first impression and Eric Mangini treated his first impression worse than infants treat diapers.  In my mind though, I gave Mangini something of a clean slate when Holmgren decided to keep him around for another year.  What am I getting at?  Anyone who wants to cast blame at Mangini for Chansi Stuckey fumbling a punt after Mangini accepted two penalties that cause the Steelers to kick it three times is crazy.  The Browns were deep in their own territory and Mangini was trying to improve their field position.  Chansi Stuckey is the backup punt returner, but so what?  The Browns were down 14-3 and Mangini wanted to improve field position. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… QB Competition, Dez Bryant and Jamario Moon

Mike HolmgrenWhile We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering (even on the weekends) of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something else you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Digging into Holmgren’s comments about the QB position for the Browns: “Citing the fact that he isn’t a ‘big believer in that competition stuff,’ he stressed that the team’s mind better be made up before camp in order to let camp run through one true starting quarterback, something so many Browns coaches, including Eric Mangini, have not handled well in the past.” [Steve Dimatteo/Dawg Pound Daily]

Pluto is talkin’ about draft picks and the NFL off-season in your Sunday paper: “The Browns would like to add another running back via free agency or the draft. They are not sure what they have in James Davis or Chris Jennings, because both played so little. Yes, they showed some flashes of talent, but Harrison was hurt most of training camp and early in the regular season with a knee problem.” [Terry Pluto/Cleveland Plain Dealer]
[Read more...]