Ok, first I’ll start off saying I’m not a sports buff. I have no idea about a lot of things pertaining to any kind of sport. I grew up in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, PA and have only known one football team; the Pittsburgh Steelers! There was never a time that I didn’t root for my hometeam; even when I lived in Baltimore for close to 8 years.
Being a radio personality in a different market (a football rival market) it was hard to talk about the games on the air. (Ravens fans don’t like that too much).
When I was living in Baltimore and Barack Obama was in his first term as President of the United States, the then Super Bowl Champions, Pittsburgh Steelers were invited to the White House for a congratulatory photo with Obama himself. All was great until reports came out that one of the Steeler lineman, James Harrison declined the invite. I didn’t know he skipped the invite from former President George W. Bush too! This dude was gangsta!
At this time, I thought it was the most disrespectful thing to do; especially when you’re an African American athlete invited to visit the first African American President of these here United States!
Harrison has been known to be a bit of a jerk (so I’ve heard) so it was easy for me to jump on the bandwagon and criticize his decision to refuse this honor. Who does he think he is?
I didn’t even know James Harrison (I still don’t) but at that time, I didn’t care who he was. You won’t be hearing me calling his name or number from the stands or my living room couch!
Fast forward to summer football training camp at Heinz Field. I had moved back and started working media for Urban Media Today and was asked to cover practice. Trust me when I say I was so lost and confused. All of the players I knew were gone to other teams, retired and living their lives elsewhere. I did know about James Harrison though. Who could forget that guy?
Anyway, after taking a few photos, recording some video and posting a few field shot selfies, there he was! James Harrison! Deebo on the field! There was a brief gasp, then a head tilt and a squint of the eyes, which was later followed by a “Damn! That boy can hit!”
I watched this man run, hit, block, hit again, tackle and hit some more. This dude was in beast mode!
Witnessing all this, I was excited about the new football season.
After a few retweets, a follow on Twitter and Instagram, along with a purchase of a #DeeboGear t-shirt, I have become a fan of the 39 year-old Akron, Ohio native (and the team as well).
So you have to know that I was shocked when the news broke two days before Christmas, that my new friend in my head, James Harrison was released from the Pittsburgh Steelers!
“What in the world! How could they do this? Why would they do this? And why before Christmas and why on earth would they do this before the playoffs?” I said to myself.
The entire Steeler Nation expressed deep frustration about this on social media; as if we had a say in what goes on in the front office.
Coach Mike Tomlin responded to the press about Harrison’s release stating, “we needed the people we kept.” (Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 2017)
There had been reports of Harrison expressing his frustration with the team about not giving him much playing time and allowing younger, more faster players time on the field when he considered himself in shape and ready for action.
This afternoon, tweets started going out that Harrison was in talks with the New England Patriots. Fast forward to another 30 minutes (maybe an hour later) and this happened:
Caption: “Finally…A teammate that’s older than me! @tombrady” Insert a few laughing emojis, a hashtag and a lot of mixed emotion comments and we’ve got a story!
As I said before, I’m not a sports expert and I have never met Mr. Harrison in person, but I do know what it means to dedicate yourself to hours and hours of hard work and hard hitting, only to be sat down and get no action! I’m sure there’s more to it but this is the only view I get to see from where I’m sitting.
Does this really make Harrison a traitor or a genius? Nope. It made him a Patriot!
Before you inbox your hate memes, know that I am and will always be a Pittsburgh Steeler fan and I want to wish my Black N’ Gold a very successful season, hats off to James Harrison for signing onto a new team (even if it’s the cheating New England Patriots) and showing us that it’s just business.
Finally, WATCH OUT BEN…you know Deebo’s comin’ for ya!
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