Monday, July 18, 2011
James Harrison was very close to retiring
By James Walker
Lost in the hoopla of James Harrison's recent bashing of various NFL players, teammates and the commissioner was how close the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker actually came to retirement last season.
In October Harrison contemplated quitting during the middle of the season after being fined $75,000 for a big hit on Cleveland Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. Most observers, and even the Steelers, took the approach that Harrison was just being emotional.
But in his interview with Men's Journal, Harrison explains how serious he was at the time about quitting football.
"I lost it completely," Harrison explained of his reaction after getting fined. "[I] said, '[expletive] y'all, I quit if you're gonna fine me that for a legal hit.' Spoke to my player rep and my agent, said, 'That's it, I'm done. What papers do I have to sign to retire today?
"And if my agent hadn't have said, 'You'll have to pay back six mill,' I'd've been out the game and not looked back."
Harrison's retirement talk lasted just one day, and he later helped lead Pittsburgh to its second Super Bowl appearance in three seasons. With the league's increased attention on big hits, Harrison could be a prime target for fines once again this season. His disparaging remarks towards NFL commissioner Roger Goodell certainly don't help Harrison keep a low profile.
Obviously Harrison doesn't like money taken out of his pocket. Who does? But what will Harrison's reaction be this season if he's once again among the most fined players in the NFL?