Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Dunlap: James Harrison Betrayed Rooney Family

Former LB looking foolish with comments

September 26, 2018 - 1:39 pm

If there is one person on the face of this big, wide, gigantic Earth who should take the side of the Rooney family in all matters, it is former Steelers linebacker James Harrison. 

Always. One-hundred percent of the time. Without fail he should side with the Rooneys. He should pray at the Rooney altar. They are why he has that big house in the North Hills and big truck I saw him driving around not long ago. If he doesn't want to praise all things Rooney, Harrison should, at the very least, never implore a player who is still (kind of) a Pittsburgh Steeler to sabotage the team's efforts. 

But Harrison did exactly as much on FS1's "The Undisputed" when he said Le'Veon Bell should return to the team on the latest date possible and then...

Well, I'll let Mr. Harrison take it from there. 

"I think the play for Le’Veon, if I’m Le’Veon, is I’m coming back November 13 and I’m gonna go in there, I’m gonna get my credit for the season I need to get, and I’m gonna do the best I can to get out of that season healthy," Harrison said, before continuing. "And, for me, I’d give you everything in practice, you would see. The cameras would see that I am fine, I am healthy. But come Saturday, ‘something ain’t right, I can’t play on Sunday.’ Because if I go out here and I mess something up I’m losing a lot of money.”

In short, fake an injury. There's no other way to say it: Noted, one-time loved, Super Bowl hero and unquestioned great Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison is advocating Bell fake an injury and undermine the team's efforts so as to put an individual pursuit --- money in this case --- before the team. 

Now would probably be a good time to remind James Harrison all about the baptism incident. You know, the one in which the late Dan Rooney fell under heavy criticism for. You know the one, the one in which the late Ambassador probably felt the hottest heat in his time as Steelers owner. You know the incident, the one in 2008 that forced the Women's Center and Shelter of Pittsburgh to issue a statement blistering the otherwise, for the most part, spotless Mr. Rooney. 

All the while Mr. Rooney --- make no mistake, as close as Pittsburgh got to royalty --- stuck by his decision to keep Harrison around even as he was charged with assaulting his then-girlfriend in an Ohio Township home. According to a police affidavit Harrison broke down a door, broke her cell phone in half and for good measure slapped her in the face. Charges were eventually dropped after Harrison went to anger-management classes. 


Mr. Rooney partly explained the incident away as an argument gone awry, stemming from Harrison simply trying to take his son to get baptized. 

My permanent residence has been in Pittsburgh for all of my 42 years on this planet. It was the one and only time I can remember the late Mr. Rooney getting excoriated for something. He absorbed enormous criticism. People crushed him. It was bad.  

Know what else he did? He saved James Harrison's ass through all of that.  

The Rooney family also saved Harrison's backside when he was contemplating becoming a bus driver and they gave him a last-ditch tryout after being cut four times. They believed in him when so many others had given up hope. 

Or how about the numerous times James Harrison publicly and unprofessionally assailed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, a known friend of the Rooney family. Mr. Rooney --- at least as we know it --- let Harrison slide; he didn't attempt to muzzle the man even as he was embarrassing himself and, by extension, the organization with his silly name-calling of the commissioner.   

And this is the thanks they get from him? This is how Harrison now treats the Rooney crest? This is the legacy he chooses to ruin? 

First Harrison quit on his teammates at the tail end of his Steelers career --- you know that tale, sleeping in meetings and the such. Guys like Maurkice Pouncey called him out for that when it happened, but his legacy still seemed salvageable to a degree. 

But now, this is even a deeper transgression. Harrison is now appealing to Bell to stick it to the organization by jaking it, by pretending an injury exists when none is there. 

That's the lowest of the low. That's when it becomes untenable and there is no going back. That's absurd and unforgivable.  

James Harrison's hard work, don't get it twisted, was the vehicle that allowed him to be a brilliant and feared NFL player. No one will ever take that away from him. He did that; he earned that. He built himself into a bad ass. 

But he also was given opportunities by the Rooney family --- especially the late Dan --- that not everyone got. The Rooney family stuck by James Harrison even when it wasn't popular to do so and even as they needed to stick their neck out on the line. They stuck by him even when they knew they'd get crushed for it. 

If there's one person who should always be on their side, it is James Harrison. 

What a turncoat.

What an act of betrayal.

What a traitor.