Life for James Harrison, had become frustrating in Pittsburgh, since he couldn't do the one thing he wanted - to play. All that changed for the veteran outside linebacker, however, as he moved on playing for his new team.
James Harrison #92 LB
Ht / Wt: 6'0' / 242
College: Kent State
Experience: 15th season
The New England Patriots clearly proved that they have a lot in plan for Harrison, which became visible from their epic 26-6 victory over the New York Jets in the Patriots Sunday game. Needless to say, Harrison played for the Patriots, and took full advantage of being on home-field. Harrison was on field for twenty-eight of the fifty-seven defensive snaps, penalties included. This was definitely a marked improvement over what the linebacker had done for the Steelers (a total 40 throughout the year).
According to Harrison himself, the experience was surreal in its own way, much like being a rookie and starting from scratch all over again. He added that he tends to get nervous just before the games begin, with Sunday's game being no exception. The only difference here was that instead of the standard get OTAs and minicamp that rookies get, he got just 4-5 days to prepare himself.
While Harrison was in top form throughout the game, the highlight of his play came in in the third quarter once he backpedaled at the snap, planted his foot into the ground and charged away downhill, only to wrap-up Robby Anderson (the receiver) short of the sticks for a stop on third-and-5. In what was a classic play, Harrison took charge of the responsibilities outside to ensure that all was well on the field's inside. This included being aware of those trying to get into his side of the field.
With this play, it became fully visible that the 39-year-old has a lot to show to the world.
The winning streak of the Patriots did not end there, however, as linebacker Elandon Roberts and safety/captain Devin McCourty ran to Harrison to celebrate the victory with him. To the spectator, it seemed very much like an official welcome to the defense.
Harrison himself was pretty touched by the action of his teammates, calling it "the building of the brotherhood."
In the mean time, Harrison is spending his time finding his path in New England - something that was clearly visible from the way he stood by himself during the national anthem while the other players stood in their unified lines.
Speaking about the incident, Harrison called it a massive miscue. He explained that he was just standing where he had been standing for the last 15 years or so, and was not told to move elsewhere.
Harrison doesn't seem fazed by any of these minor setbacks, though. If anything, he is optimistic. He says that he tends to listen to what people say he cannot do, just so that he can prove them wrong by succeeding in that exact thing. He feels that age is only a number, and that he is as capable as any young player out there on the field, even if his capabilities and roles have changed over time.