As a Bengals fan I had a strong dislike for James Harrison as a Steeler. Now, with the move to the Bengals it is intriguing to think about what we may see from him in stripes. After last nights episode of HBO's Hard Knocks, I don't know what to expect from this guy.
Obviously Harrison is a "buck the trend" type of guy. He seems to not care about anyone and even less about the cameras. The discussion he had with Jay Gruden about AJ Green was one of the most awkward moments of the show.
Gruden: We don't touch the merchandise ever.
Harrison: The merchandise is going to get touched.
Gruden: Not by you, not without pads ... our future relies on this guy.
Harrison: The merchandise come this way -- boom -- it's going to get touched. I like touching merchandise.
Gruden: Our future relies on this guy.
Harrison: I'm not going to kill him, but I ain't going to let him get his job done.
Gruden: Just relax.
Harrison: I ain't gonna kill him, but I ain't going to let him get the job done because that mean I ain't doing mine. Understand?
Harrison: Understand? Do we understand each other? That's all I need to know.
Gruden: We do. I'm sorry, I'm sorry ... but seriously don't hurt this Mother F'er.
It reminds me of when you go into someone's house and they tell you their dog is friendly. The whole time you are looking at this thing, knowing at any moment it could lunge and bite you. That fear is there, you know it and he knows it. James Harrison is that dog. It is obvious that people are worried he is going to snap.
The part of the show that sticks with me more was the scene in which the linebackers were having a meeting. All of the players were sitting around a conference table and watching the projection screen. Harrison had his back to them and was watching on a computer monitor. Who knows the circumstances around this setup, but I have a feeling that if Harrison does not turn out to be the player that Bengals fans hope he is, this scene may come back up.
A guy can get away with acting however he wants when he is a star on the field. Chad Johnson was a fan favorite when he was lighting up the score boards. As soon as the Bengals struggled there were people screaming that he should be a better teammate, practice more...basically they were sick of his antics. It's not a stretch to see the fans turning on Harrison if he or the Bengals sruggle.
On the other side, I am a little scared of Harrison. My wife commented "Man, that is a scary guy". He is intense, big and mean. Just what the Bengals need on this defense. I am still excited about what he can offer. It was TV after all and the edit is going to be what is most compelling to watch. We should get a better picture on Thursday when the Bengals meet the Falcons.
Hopefully Harrison breaks their "merchandise", a lot.