…And The Inevitable James Harrison Backlash Is Officially Underway
When some of the, um, provocative results of a Men's Journal sit-down with Steelers linebacker James Harrison were unleashed onto the world this morning, it was a given that reaction to Harrison's comments would be swift - the shots he took were too strong, and too many, not to elicit some immediate responses...or notable lack thereof. For example, the NFL commented on the situation by saying it had no comment, while the Steelers organization is for the moment primarily concerned with showing us they didn't violate the terms of the NFL's lockout.
But one group can respond to Harrison: his teammates, many of whom had some harsh words directed their way. Ben Roethlisberger ("Stop trying to act like Peyton Manning") hasn't said his piece yet, and that's undoubtedly how the Steelers would like it to stay - oh, wait, Harrison didn't mean to criticize Roethlisberger, nothing to see here. Running back Rashard Mendenhall, however (called a "fumble machine" by Harrison), responded quietly via Twitter, yet in the most devastating way possible: with simple facts.
And lastly, I dont have a problem with what @jharrison9292 said because I know him. But I want you guys 2 check this out http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/player/_/stat/rushing/sort/rushingAttempts
First of all, Mendenhall not harshly condemning someone else for making ill-advised statements is a wise move, because...yeah. Additionally, if you visit the site Mendenhall linked, you'll find his rushing stats from last season, compared to other players aroud the league and sorted by number of carries. Mendenhall had the fourth-most in the NFL (324, about 20 per game)...and the "fumble machine" fumbled all of two times during the 2010 regular season.
In fairness to Harrison, there's a bit more to the story. Mendenhall fumbled twice in three playoff games (and 61 carries; if extrapolated over the course of a full season, that would mean 10 or 11 fumbles, which would be a pretty alarming number). But it's not just about those games - which, one might reasonably add, were played against some of the league's best teams and defenses, and in which Mendenhall scored four touchdowns. It's about the entire body of work. Mendenhall might have had his struggles during the postseason, but a fumble machine he isn't - and despite what he said, it seems he indeed took issue with being labeled as such.
Of course, Harrison didn't just blast teammates: he also took issue with Texans linebacker Brian Cushing, whom Harrison said is "juiced out of his mind." Cushing, when pressed for a response, took the high road like Mendenhall, saying, "I'll pray for him." While Harrison getting into pissing matches with half the league might have been fun for a while (and made for some interesting games down the line), it doesn't look like it's going to happen. Maybe that's just because at this point, anger is just the expected reaction from James Harrison about anything. Consider this tidbit from Pro Football Talk's post on Cushing's response:
Cushing has never played in a game against the Steelers.
What can't this guy hate?
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