Steelers Fans Shouldn\’t Hate James Harrison, Just The Business Decision That He Made

All throughout the offseason I speculated that if linebacker James Harrison wanted to remain a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers that he would have to take $3 million in 2013. As it turns out, that is exactly the amount that he stands to pocket with the Cincinnati Bengals this upcoming season if he plays in all 16 games for them.

Following the March release of the former Defensive Player of the Year, reports surfaced stating that the Steelers offered Harrison a 30 percent cut of his $6.57 million salary that he was scheduled to earn to remain in Pittsburgh. If indeed that was the case, Harrison left money on the table.

Now, Harrison must quickly adapt to new surroundings and a new defense, which he claims is similar to the one that he was accustomed to in Pittsburgh. We\’ll see. At 35 years of age, Harrison will be expected to play in all 16 games, and that is something that he hasn\’t done since the 2010 season.

Harrison said Monday during his conference call with media that he doesn\’t hate the Steelers. He did, however, state that he was disappointed. If he should be disappointed with anyone, it should be with himself and his agent for making a bad business decision and somewhat putting a black mark on his Steelers legacy.

This is not the first time around the block for Harrison\’s agent Bill Parise, who has dealt with the Steelers in the past, and just so happens to be a native of Butler, Pennsylvania. Parise knows how the Steelers operate.

It is indeed possible that Harrison went against Parise\’s advice and that in itself wouldn\’t be surprising to hear down the road. Most athletes think that are worth more than they actually are, especially later on in the careers.

While the Steelers fanbase will never forget all of the great memories that Harrison provided them, they also will not forget the bad business decision that he made that led to him ending his career with a hated divisional opponent. If he had been cut out-right without a fair opportunity to stay, much like his predecessor Joey Porter was, that would be one thing, but apparently it wasn\’t.

It will forever be etched in my memory that running back Franco Harris ended his career with the Seattle Seahawks after a nasty contract holdout in 1984 and seeing Harrison play next season in a Bengals uniform, when it could have been avoided, will also leave a scar.

Much like Harrison doesn\’t hate the Steelers, the fans shouldn\’t hate Harrison either. The only thing that they should hate is the business decision that he made.

  • hergieburbur

    I got nothing but respect for James, but I agree, he made a poor decision based on an inflated picture of his own value, and now has to wear those hideous uniforms for less money as punishment.

  • Mike.H

    My take on this sitch, it wasn’t all about the money, it’s Silverback’s age and the need to play Woriids. The money part tipped the scale of cutting Harrison…

  • Addison

    I’m going to miss Harrison. I still watch his Super Bowl touchdown. I hope when he’s done he retires as a steeler.

  • Buccos9

    Harrison and his agent gambled that he was worth more money than the Steelers wanted to pay, and he may have lost a little money instead. It’s almost the end of his career and he wanted to get the best payday he could. You can’t blame him for that. Players in his situation sometimes refuse to admit they are not the player they once were (see Hines Ward). James Harrison remains one of my all-time favorite Steelers, and his TD return in the Super Bowl is a fabulous memory. I will still wear his Steelers jersey, just not when the Bengals play the Steelers.

  • Jason Brant

    He gambled that he could make more money in free agency and he lost. I don’t understand why everyone is so pissed at him?

    And a black mark on his legacy? That’s probably going a little far. I wish he retired a Steeler as much as the next guy, but it’s his decision to make. It’s not like he beat the hell out of a dryer in the Sheetz bathroom on his way out.

    Also, he most likely did the Steelers a favor by not accepting the pay cut. The team saved $5 million, I believe, by cutting him. We’re obviously cash strapped and were able to use that money to sign some depth, rather than gambling on him staying healthy.

  • Dan

    Or it could be that he knows he won’t be ready to perform well next season, and he really loves the Steelers, so instead of hurting the Steelers, he did the next best thing by taking some salary cap money, albeit not much, from a division rival.

  • Nolrog

    It’s too bad we had to let him go, but in a salary capped league, sometimes you gotta make hard decisions. I hope he has 14 excellent games next year.

    He will always be the guy who made the most exciting play in a SB that I ever saw. One of the most key as well.

  • walter mason

    No I dont think so

  • Ahmad

    You are absolutely right Dave. I don’t hate Harrison at all, just the decision that eh made and man was it a bad one. He’ll make less in two years with the Bengals than he would have made this year with us even with the 30% pay cut.

  • sean mcmartin

    Trashed his jersey already. Didn’t get what he wanted and now is pulling a rod woodson. Hope he continues to be fined and suspended by the NFL.