Ladies and Gentlemen, Mike Tomlin has done it again. Just as his three-ring circus caught the attention of the media and Steeler Nation alike, our habitual liar of a coach has revealed a happy and healthy James Harrison will more than likely suit up this weekend against the Philadelphia Eagles. To quote the master of cloaking injuries in fancy double-talk, “Based on what I am looking at on how we worked yesterday, I think that [Harrison playing] is a safe assessment.” If that statement is true, Coach T will have a sharp eye on #92 (along with the equally important Troy Polamalu and Rashard Mendenhall) the rest of the week with hopes that all three will be ready come Sunday.
The news broke on the heels of what turned out to be more negative conversation than a discussion of Kordell Stewart’s recent nomination to the Hall of Fame. Nearly every report on Harrison’s many ailments made some mention of him hanging up the Black and Gold for good. Even our own guru of the gridiron, Chris, had him cashing in his retirement savings after the season. Based on Monday’s practice roster boasting a full complement minus only Marcus Gilbert, it appears that Silverback’s days as an endangered species are over.
Based on Tomlin’s media-edited assessment, it appears Harrison stood alongside Troy and Mendy for the duration of Monday’s practice without incident. Given the fact that he also practiced heading into the bye week, I would really like to know where all the hysteria started. Tomlin’s presser? You have to be oblivious to the NFL in general if Tomlin’s press conference chatter is enough to stir up early retirement thoughts FOR ANYONE. Look at our vacationing ex-coordinator Bruce Arians, who is having one hell of an active retirement out in Indianapolis.
I can’t dismiss the general idea of Harrison possibly retiring early, given that almost every part of his anatomy has been subject to injury discussion at one time or another. But then again, that is EXACTLY why I don’t understand thinking a late off-season scope and a few knee injections were enough to predict the future of #92. The guy was back at work after FRACTURING HIS ORBITAL BONE faster than most people take finish up a café latte after lunch. Is it because he once said that he would like to “get out before his health is due to deteriorate?” If that was an actual goal, it probably would have been best to jump ship BEFORE spending 5 years getting into a league that pays you to annihilate guys wearing synthetic body armor.
The other doomsday scenario out there hinges on the gigantic $9 Million paycheck he is due to cash next year. Given the dedication this guy shows to the team that gave him the chance, I wouldn’t rule out, and am actually predicting, that he takes the “Pittsburgh Chop” on his salary to be afforded the opportunity to end his career in Western, PA. Sure, he’s a family man that has publicly voiced the need to take care of his children, but the honest truth is no team in the league will be gambling much higher stakes than Pittsburgh will be willing to, unless the horse is really broken down.
I personally look forward to seeing Harrison suit up on Sunday, because all the foot-in-mouthers that predicted the demise of one of the most Steeler-like Steelers to ever play in Pittsburgh deserve to eat a little crow. Not to mention our boys are in dear need of a strong defensive showing to shrug off the other latest Steeler-bashing trend of calling our D “predictable.” I look forward to donning my #92 bumble-bee jersey with pride when they decide to pull them out. Yes, dammit, I bought one because they are awesome. But mostly I look forward to what Tomlin taught me many years ago in a Shaolin Temple high atop Mt. Washington; the art of deception.