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In Revealing Podcast Interview with James Harrison ‘Goes Deep’

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James Harrison


James Harrison plays for the Pittsburgh Steelmakers.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers defender James Harrison recently appeared on the Going Deep podcast, which was hosted by old teammate Willie Colon.

In an in-depth interview with Colon and Stephen Tea, Harrison talks about everything from former defense coordinator Dick LeBo (just talking about him makes me emotional) to the fines he received for various assaults, including a scary bag of Vince Young from the Titans of Tennessee.

Terrific Sack versus the Titans by James Harrison2010-12-07T14:17:32Z

Garrison stopped having fun after watching his teammate play Check.

But the most revealing part of the interview shows when and why Harrison decided to devote himself to football and take care of his body. As you probably know, Harrison didn’t have much success with the Steelers at the beginning of his career; in fact, he signed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2003 after being fired from Pittsburgh, before returning to the Steelers in 2004.

In my first three or four years – since 2002-06 – there hasn’t been a single night I wasn’t on the street. There were many nights when I left the club at 5.30 am, had breakfast and went straight to practice, according to Harrison.

Although he insists that he and his teammates didn’t let what they were trying to do on the pitch spoil the nightlife, it’s clear that Harrison only came close to realising his great potential when he devoted himself to football and took care of his body.

I think it was in 2006, when I stopped drinking for a week, he said. At that time, an unidentified teammate showed Garrison one of his gambling checks worth $223,000, about the same amount he paid Garrison for the whole year.

That’s when Harrison decided to do his best to maximize his abilities. He says he said it himself: I have a small chance to make a lot of money, and all I have to do is make a sacrifice. If I have to sacrifice 10 or 15 years, whatever it is, I can make money in the meantime… I can create a generation of wealth for myself, my children and my family.

Two seasons later, in 2008, Garrison was named AC Defence Player of the Year before teammate Troy Polamalu received the same award.

In an interview with Going Deep, Harrison made it clear that Polamalu had freedom of movement, although Lebo’s difficult defense could have collapsed if a player hadn’t done so.

In several rooms where you can see Troy [in] the interval that the quarterback skipped, Troy got a third deep [which means he was responsible for a third of the field in the deep secondary], Harrison said. That is, the [other] boys who got a layer third, they [actually] got a layer two-thirds, he went on and made them laugh.

Garrison misses Camaraderi’s locker room

Elsewhere in the interview, Harrison reports that the only thing missing from the NFL is camaraderie in the locker room, although he insists that players are not as captivated as they were when he first entered the league.

In this respect he’s a bit like a person who constantly complains that the music isn’t as good as it used to be.

That’s what you don’t get anymore – these are guys who actually play for each other and not play for preferences and popularity, and how many followers they get, he said. I literally spent more time off the field with the cats I played with than with my real family. There were days when I didn’t go to bed until Saturday morning, starting on Thursday.

Ah, he looked like a real James Harrison until 2006.

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