Harrison Says Immaturity Got Him Cut

The Ravens released now Super Bowl contender James Harrison after a year-long tryout in 2004.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Categories: Mike Duffy

As Super Bowl coverage continues in its freight-train-like way, the Ravens are forced to watch one of their own continue to make headlines.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison – the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year – joined the Ravens in 2004, only to be cut after a year-long tryout.

But, according to Harrison, the Ravens may have had their reasons. Before the Ravens were ousted from the playoffs by the Steelers in the Divisional Round, Harrison told the NFL GameDay Morning crew that he was immature during the early part of his career.

“When I got released the first few times, it was maturity,” Harrison said at the time. “I didn’t take coaching too well, I didn’t know what I was doing. I would actually stop on a play in practice. I think actually sitting down and putting the time in to be a true professional and learn the defense, learn what you’re doing. It’s not going to just come to you.”
 
Harrison was cut three times by the Steelers before the Ravens signed him in early 2004.   Baltimore then sent him to NFL Europe – he played with the Rhein Fire – and was released two weeks after he came back to the United States.

The Steelers eventually picked Harrison back up, and he’s played like gangbusters since then.

Harrison led the Steelers with 10 ½ sacks this year (posting three more in the playoffs), in addition to forcing a team-high six fumbles and intercepting two passes.

Where Harrison was most noted, however, was his penchant for big hits that resulted in fines.

Harrison was fined more than $100,000 this year due to illegal hits, and took a jab at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell when asked about his nature of play during Tuesday’s Media Day at the Super Bowl.

“I don’t want to hurt nobody,” he said. “I don’t want to step on nobody’s foot or hurt their toe. I don’t want to have no dirt or none of this rubber on this field fly into their eye and make their eye hurt. I just want to tackle them softly on the ground and if you all can, we’ll lay a pillow down where I’m going to tackle them, so they don’t hit the ground too hard … Mr. Goodell.”

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