The Pittsburgh Steelers are going through a bitter divorce, of sorts, with former veteran linebacker James Harrison.
Harrison, who was cut by the Steelers and signed with the New England Patriots recently, cited playing time as the main reason as to why he was frustrated with the Steelers this season.
But Harrison’s former teammates blasted the linebacker.
“He erased his own legacy,” Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey told the media (h/t ESPN).
Players contest Harrison’s complaint, saying that everything went according to plan.
“After the first week of the season, I said to them, it’s clear you want to play your younger guys, and I understand, so why don’t you release me? You go on your way, and I’ll go on mine,” Harrison said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“They said, ‘No, no, no, we got a role for you.'”
Harrison added that he stopped asking for his release after he played only 15 snaps in a Week 6 win over the Kansas City Chiefs and was told to “be ready” for significant snaps against the Patriots, but did not play.
“If I didn’t play in the biggest game of the year, that told me I wouldn’t get any more snaps,” Harrison said. “So all that lip service you gave me before didn’t matter.”
Head coach Mike Tomlin said that Harrison’s release was related to the team needing to bring back Marcus Gilbert, who was returning from suspension.
Harrison’s former teammates, however, are singing a different tune.
“If you didn’t want to be here, come out and say it,” Pouncey said. “Don’t make it look like it’s the team’s fault. … You think the team and the organization wanted to get rid of James Harrison? Come on, now. If I wanted out, I wouldn’t let the team take the blame for it.”
“I don’t want the media to portray that we’re the reason he left” Steelers’ linebacker Bud Dupress said.
“That ain’t the reason. He chose to leave. He made certain decisions, and his actions got him to this circumstance.”
“I guess [New England is] where he wanted to be,” Steelers cornerback Artie Burns said, adding that Harrison’s “energy” showed the team that he was upset about a lack of playing time, creating a “a whole thing with him and the guys upstairs”.
According to the report Harrison would fall asleep in team meetings and snore loudly when Steelers coach Joey Porter was trying to teach and there were times when Harrison would skip meetings.
Steelers players were weary when Harrison would miss practice for various injuries only to find out that Harrison conducted power-lifting sessions the same week or same day.
Harrison would tell teammates he was trying to force a trade, would leave the facility at random times and would leave stadiums before or during games on days he was inactive.
Dupree spoke on his radio show about how Harrison showed no interest in mentoring him or rookie linebacker Tj Watt.
“I don’t know how many secrets about the playbook Harrison could give to [the Patriots] because I never saw him in meetings,” said Dupree, according to host Paul Zeise.
“We’re going to speak the truth. That’s what it is,” Pouncey said.
“I want [backup B.J. Finney] to be the best offensive lineman. If he comes and takes my position, it is what it is. … I’m not going to complain about that. I’m very thankful for everything. I’m a man about everything. Any time I messed up, every time I never did anything, I stood up to everybody and told them. It is what it is. I’m not going to run from no one.”
Harrison seems excited to get a shot at playing time with New England.
“I cleared waivers, New England had called and said they wanted me to come up, and we talked,” Harrison told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this week.
“At 4:30 that afternoon, I flew to Boston, and there was no communication from the Steelers about anything.”
“I don’t care. Bye. Have fun,” Pouncey said.
Judge Blocks Release of Robert Kraft Spa Video
Apparently that reportedly “damning” video of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s visit to the infamous Orchids of Asia Day Spa, where he allegedly received sexual services, won’t be reaching the public just yet.
The Assistant State Attorney in Palm Beach County has filed new court documents saying that he is obligated to release the footage, involving Kradt and shot inside the Day Spa, to the media as a matter of law.
However, Florida 15th Judicial Circuit Court Joseph Marx has blocked the release of the video for now, according to ABC News.
“I don’t want this released until I’ve ruled,” Marx said in an emergency hearing on a conference call with the two parties and the media late Wednesday afternoon.
Under Florida’s so-called “Sunshine” law, any records made or received by any public agency in the course of its official business are available for inspection, unless specifically exempted by the Florida Legislature, per the report.
Florida state officials said that they would “pixelate or blur depictions of obscene or pornographic images before releasing such records to the public, absent a court order.”
Kraft’s lawyers filed a letter to the judge in court records to apprise him of what they described as “an extraordinary and alarming development involving what appears to be gross prosecutorial misconduct” and accused law enforcement officials of trying to circumvent the judgment of the court.
The plot continues to thicken, but for now, Kraft’s video is locked away from the public.
Florida Prosecutors Offer to Drop Robert Kraft’s Solicitation Charges
Prosecutors in Florida have offered to drop solicitation of prostitution charges against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft if he agrees to admit that he would have been proven guilty had he gone to trial to fight the charges, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Beaton.
Kraft, 77, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of first-degree solicitation after he was allegedly caught on camera paying for, and receiving, oral and manual sex at the infamous Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.
One of the incidents allegedly occurred back in January on the morning of the Patriots’ AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs, which the Patriots won en route to their Super Bowl victory.
According to the report, prosecutors have offered the same deal to the other men charged in the sting. Beaton considered the offer “unusual” (h/t NBC Sports Boston).
Additionally, if Kraft decides to take the deal, the Patriots owner will have to complete an education course about prostitution, complete 100 hours of community service, and undergo screening for sexually transmitted diseases.
According to ESPN, Kraft is one of 200 people that allegedly engaged in sex acts at Florida massage parlors that were targeted in the sting.
Kraft has denied the allegations.
Tom Brady And Pats Play Record 8th AFC Championship Game, Seek 6th Superbowl
It’s Championship Sunday and one of the NFL staples remain atop the league. The New England Patriots are appearing in their record 8th AFC title game in hopes of competing for a sixth title.
A season that most organizations would be happy with, was one of challenge for the Patriots. Usually a top tier team, they suffered bad losses to the Jaguars, Titans and Dolphins. However, in Patriot fashion along a weak AFC East, the Patriots finished 11-5, won a 10th straight conference title and secured a first round bye.
Kansas City will host New England in the AFC Championship game in what is a rematch from week six. That game featured an offensive clinic , As reported by CBS Boston, Brady went 24-35 passing for 340 yards and touchdown in that game; Mahomes went 23-36 passing for 352 yards and four touchdowns. The AFC Championship could very well play out the same way.
The Chiefs will be a tough out, They won their first home playoff game in 25 years last week against the Colts and are riding one of the most prolific offenses in history behind quarterback whisperer Andy Reid and phenome Patrick Mahomes who is arguably the NFLs best young QB.
In what is a David and Goliath matchup, Brady seems to imply they are the underdog. As he told CBS’s Tracy Wolfson, “I know everyone thinks we suck and, you know, cant win games,”. Will the dynasty continue? Or will Reid and Mahomes hoist the Lombardi?
I’m leaning towards the game plan of Bill Belichick and veteran experience of Tom Brady in this one. I think a Patriot/Saints matchup is in order. Either way, it will undoubtedly be one for the ages.
Game Time: Sunday January 20th at 6:40ET/5:40CT on CBS.
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