Steelers deflect Harrison's comments
July, 28, 2011
By James Walker | ESPN.com
LATROBE, Pa. -- The Pittsburgh Steelers got together as a team for the first time since linebacker James Harrison made explosive comments about a bevy of people, including two of his teammates.
But the sentiment Thursday was, "That's just James being James.”
"James is a little bit of a different type of guy," Steelers defensive lineman Casey Hampton said. "He does his own thing. But you know one thing: He's going to give it to you [on the field]. He's a good teammate, and I don't think anyone will disagree with that."
In an interview with Men's Journal, Harrison ripped teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and several other current and former players. Harrison's comments made national headlines for days during a slow lockout period.
Kirby Lee/US PresswireIt seems the Steelers have written off James Harrison's comments.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said the team is currently focusing on a lot of different things with the start of the league year and has yet to discuss whether there would be any internal punishment for Harrison. But Tomlin doesn't anticipate any issues within his locker room.
"We have a unique group of guys who are uniquely close," Tomlin said. "I would imagine it didn't register as big a blip on the radar as you might imagine. Guys on the team know and love and respect James. They know how he is. To a degree, some of the things he says they take with a grain of salt, to be quite honest with you."
Tomlin's biggest gripe was Harrison's harsh comments made toward Goodell, which Tomlin described as "inappropriate."
Harrison reported to camp but didn't talk with the media Thursday. Several other players who had offseason issues, such as receiver Hines Ward and Mendenhall, also skipped the opportunity to speak publicly.
Here are other notes of interest from Steelers camp:
- The Steelers have agreed to terms with free-agent offensive lineman Willie Colon, who has a chance to replace Max Starks at one of the tackle spots. Tomlin was noncommittal on who his starting tackles would be. But right now Colon and veteran Flozell Adams are probably the two best candidates.
- The Steelers have all their rookie draft picks signed with the exception of first-round pick Cameron Heyward and third-round pick Curtis Brown. Pittsburgh also will start camp with three players on the physically unable to perform list -- Ward (thumb), guard Chris Kemoeatu (knee) and defensive end Eugene Bright (shoulder). But none of the injuries appears to be serious.
- Tomlin dodged the Plaxico Burress topic Thursday, mostly saying he’s a free agent and it's not good business to talk about players not under contract.
- Pittsburgh held a "conditioning evaluation" instead of a conditioning test before training camp this year. Due to the lengthy lockout, the coaches have had no contact or workouts with players during the offseason, which will be a challenge.