James Harrison: A Tribute

And so ends one of the most remarkable professional careers of our lifetimes, in any sport. A Hobbit-sized linebacker who went undrafted when he came out of Kent State in 2002, didn’t see the field until the final game of the regular season, spent 2003 in NFL Europe, came back in ’04 and became one of the great players of his era.

James Harrison retires as a 5-time Pro Bowler, a 2-time All Pro and the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year. He holds the all time sack record for a franchise that has made pressuring the quarterback the cornerstone of its approach since the early 1970s. And all but four of his career 80.5 sacks came after Harrison’s 29th birthday. Just incredible production in his 30s:

And one of the few figures more compelling than Football Guy James Harrison was Off the Field James Harrison. From his legendary workouts …

… to his insane treatments that made The TB12 Method look like a trip to the CVS Minute Clinic:

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… to little moments like dropping this on his Insta in the middle of a playoff run:


… and who hates Roger Goodell as much as any Patriots fan ever has. And once called him his Commissioner “the Devil” before adding, “My rep is James Harrison, mean son of a bitch who loves hitting the hell out of people. But up until last year, there was no word of me being dirty – til Roger Goodell, who’s a crook and a puppet, said I was the dirtiest player in the league. If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it. I hate him and will never respect him.”

A man that eloquent is going to be missed. It’s a goddamned shame that he didn’t go out with a ring. (One of many tragedies to come out of Super Bowl LII, but I don’t want to lose focus.) But he still retires with two Super Bowl titles and he was a crucial contributor in both. Including one of the most significant plays in Super Bowl history:

A big hitter who could drop into pass coverage (per PFF he only allowed a passer rating of 76), tough, durable, never boring and a man who gave zero fucks about anyone’s opinions is moving on with his life. And football will be poorer for it. Godspeed, Deebo.