Originally posted on Steel City Blitz  |  Last updated 3/24/13
It was a hard pill to swallow for many Pittsburgh Steelers’ fans when James Harrison was released a few weeks ago. Harrison was the epitome of what the Pittsburgh Steelers have long been on the defensive side of the ball. Besides an NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award he also authored one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history when he returned an interception 100 yards as time expired in the first half of Super Bowl XLIII. The other side of Harrison of course is the darker one that includes being the target and poster child for Roger Goodell’s personal assault on violence in the game of football. He did nothing to diminish that image after an interview with Men’s Journal quoted Harrison as saying “If Goodell were on fire he wouldn’t piss on him to put it out.” Harrison actually made it through the 2012 season without enduring the wrath of the league office when he went without a fine. For a guy that battled knee and back injuries heading into the season, he actually got better week in and week out as the season rolled on as he finished with six sacks. The bad news however was that for the third straight year, his QB pressures were down to the point where he was becoming ineffective on the pass rush. This off-season, the Steelers apparently offered Harrison a chance to stay with them but with a cut of 30% of his salary. Believing he could do better on the open market, Harrison and his agent decided to say ‘no’ and so the Steelers released the latest iconic linebacker. Harrison is still unemployed at the time of this writing and I believe there are three reasons why. The first two are obvious. Harrison is 35 years of age and this is not exactly an age where many NFL players flourish let alone at the position of linebacker. Secondly, Harrison’s injury history isn’t just a few pulled hamstrings and some banged up fingers. He has fought both knee and back injuries for the better part of the last three to four years. These two reasons alone are enough to keep teams away until they get desperate later this summer when injuries and retirements start to take shape. The other reason he is still without work is the one that I know people are considering but just aren’t saying. Is it possible that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has somehow instructed teams not to employ James Harrison? Don’t laugh and don’t say that’s BS either. It wouldn’t be the first time a commissioner or a group of owners colluded to keep a player or coach from staying or getting back into a particular league. Look at Goodell’s angle before you doubt this. At a time when the owners just passed yet another rule limiting the violence of the game (banning of running backs using the crown of their helmets) what better time to keep his own personal punching bag in James Harrison out of football for good. Goodell has not spoken publicly as to what he thought of Harrison’s comments in the Men’s Journal article but privately we have been told he was less then thrilled and I certainly wouldn’t blame him. This allows Goodell to continue taking the high road in regards to how he feels about Harrison and also keeps the former all-pro out of professional football forever. Goodell is not an idiot contrary to popular belief. There is a reason he was named commissioner by the owners and it had to do with two things; making them money and cleaning up the game. The latter in response to the pending lawsuit brought by former players regarding their care after football. The owners believe Goodell and his minions in the league office are just the guys to handle the changing of the game from a violent, defensive ordeal to a much more high-scoring, offensive showcase. Bigger than that however is the money. The NFL has never been more popular. The NFL Draft has more viewers than the NBA Playoffs and the Pro Bowl, which everyone loathes, draws more viewers than any of the other all-star games. This means that James Harrison is but a Styrofoam cup floating in a sea of much bigger and more important financial things for Goodell and his owners. My guess is that ultimately a team may ring James Harrison’s phone but the monetary offer he’ll be given will more than likely be insulting. If I had to bet, I’d guess that Harrison wishes he took the cut the Steelers offered him because I doubt he or his agent put much thought into what I’ve raised here. I’ve been wrong many times before, but let’s face it. Would anything Goodell does surprise you? Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers. Related PostsNo Cameras as Roethlisberger Addresses “Locker Room Issues” Re-Structure? Woodley Should Offer a Pay Cut Roethlisberger to Re-Structure; Still Receives Criticism Is Tight End a First Round Option for the Steelers? Steelers’ Colbert is in Denial About Locker Room
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Blake Griffin may still return to Clippers despite Chris Paul exit

Report: Miguel Montero to be DFA’d after calling out Jake Arrieta

Report: Eight teams already interested in Zach Orr

Report: Clippers agree to trade Chris Paul to Rockets

What to expect from United States Men’s National Team in Gold Cup

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Knicks targeting Raptors GM Ujiri to replace Jackson

Bryce Harper fuels Cubs speculation with Instagram post

Mike Trout progressing towards return before All-Star break

There's nowhere for Chris Paul to go

Mother Nature stops Tim Tebow's St. Lucie debut

Carson Palmer not sure if 2017 will be his last NFL season

Top NBA free agents available

Box Score 6/28: New York loses its zen

Although you have seen this start before, this season is no sequel for the Dodgers

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

Who won Wimbledon the year you were born?

Box Score 6/27: Monday is for all sorts of ballers

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

2017 is not another disappointing sequel for the Dodgers

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker