Players / James Harrison
James Harrison has been made into the Darth Vader of the NFL and is publicly seen as a head-hunting villain. Closer examination reveals the complex truth.
The un-drafted free agent was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2002. Subsequently, he was cut four times and sent to NFL Europe before working tirelessly at his craft and transforming into a five-time Pro-Bowler and two-time Super Bowl Champion.
The expression, “a man is the sum total of his parts,” applies to this player more than any other I have profiled. His confidants describe him as “senitive,” “great teammate,” and “fiercely loyal.” His wikipedia page details incidents for which he has been criticized and punished. But the good deeds and true balance of this man are often never considered, except by those whom he lets into his inner circle.
That circle is the circumference of a silver dollar in the life of James Harrison.
His participation in this film sheds thoughtful light on many facets of modern professional football; the way players have been coached and trained since they first put on a helmet, the lack of critical analysis by the media which fails to realize these men have been lauded for “knocking heads” for years and this style of play was not invented by #92. And bluntly, the hard-core reality that the men who play this game fear shots to the knees infinitely more than shots to their dome.
We are not here to publicly defend James Harrison. We simply let the man speak for himself and let the opponents fall where they may.
In the interest of full disclosure, he is one of the very few players I have spoken to, who used the acronym, TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) without being prompted or given the information. In a world where so many “don’t want to know too much.” James Harrison knows plenty, but chooses to play anyway, to provide a better life for his family.