Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



The James Harrison story is not going away. Rightly or wrongly, it will be the hot topic for months when discussing the Steelers.

Click HERE for my detailed opinion of the Harrison debacle.

But more details still linger, mostly flawed arguments.

Some feel Harrison should have played in place of Bud Dupree, because “Dupree sucks!” (The words of Harrison fanboys, not mine.)

But Dupree is adequate. He made 40 tackles and registered six sacks. Dupree is a first-round pick in his third season. If nothing else, Dupree can handle the workload a 39-year-old can’t.

Dupree also plays left outside linebacker. Harrison plays right outside linebacker. The two positions aren’t necessarily interchangeable.

Here’s another yelp from the citizenry: “Harrison should have moved inside when Ryan Shazier got hurt!”

Bad idea. Harrison doesn’t play inside, and is too old to adjust. At 39, Harrison is just too old, period.

The hoi polloi gleefully overestimate Harrison’s current skill set: “He can still do this or that!”

How do you know? Did you see Harrison practice every day? Coach Mike Tomlin did. Defensive coordinator Keith Butler did. Outside 'backers coach Joey Porter did (though Porter being mostly a mascot/cartoon character seems part of the problem).

The Steelers did zero wrong regarding their use and treatment of Harrison.

The proof: They went 13-3 and set a single-season team record for sacks (56).

The bleating of Harrison fanboys doesn’t change that.

Harrison wasn’t disrespected. Respect is a two-way street, and you don’t let respect get in the way of going 13-3.

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