Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison might have been the player who was in the spotlight the most last season due to how many fines he incurred after hits to defenseless receivers or quarterbacks. One of those fines tallied $75,000 when he laid out the Browns' Mohamed Massaquoi.
In an interview in the August edition of Men's Journal, Harrison had some choice quotes for Roger Goodell. He also didn't seem too worried about trashing some of his teammates, particularly quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
On being branded as a thug:
"My rep is James Harrison, mean son of a bitch who loves hitting the hell out of people," he says. "But up until last year, there was no word of me being dirty — till 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."
He's certainly not going to be befriending Goodell on Facebook anytime soon. Harrison talked about Goodell's inability to understand his reasoning for hits like the one on Massaquoi:
"What I tried to explain to Goodell, but he was too stupid to understand, is that dudes crouch when you go to hit them. With Massaquoi, my target area was his waist and chest, but he lowered himself at the last possible second and I couldn’t adjust to his adjustment. But Goodell, who’s a devil, ain’t hearing that. Where’s the damn discretion, the common sense?"
Perhaps the biggest gem from the interview came when Harrison was asked about Roethlisberger's Super Bowl performance against the Green Bay Packers:
On the two interceptions thrown by Ben Roethlisberger in last year’s Super Bowl:
"Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the D to bail you out again. Or hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain’t that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does."
ESPN contacted Roethlisberger, and while he says that things are "fine" with Harrison after speaking with him (the claim is that the comments in the magazine were twister out of context), it still has to seem like a slap in the face from a teammate.
You can read some more of Harrison's comments in the FanShot here, where Dawgs By Nature members have already been talking about the linebacker's comments.