Adam Crowley

Adam Crowley

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Harrison legacy discussion has room for nuance

"You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." James Harrison had a chance to go down as an all-time Steelers great when he decided to retire with the team prior to the 2014 season. But, because of the way things ended this season with him going to New England, Steelers fans have a bad taste in their mouths. 

The question now being thrown around on sports radio and on Twitter is, "How do you view James Harrison's legacy?" Do you look back fondly on James or did he ruin his own legacy by ending his career with the hated Patriots? 

I don't think it's that simple. With James, it never is. Harrison is the Steelers all-time sack leader with 80.5. He was responsible for one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history. For brief period he was the most feared defensive player in the NFL. He also slammed a Cleveland fan on his head in a 41-0 stomping of the Browns. Steelers' fans can't/shouldn't forget his great moments. 

It also shouldn't be forgotten that he was arrested and charged for assault in 2008. The charges were later dropped after Harrison completed an anger management course. In 2011, he appeared in a controversial Men's Journal article and was shown on the cover holding a pair of guns. 

Harrison was also outspoken about participation trophies and in 2011 said about Roger Goodell, "If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn't do it."

James Harrison had great moments as a Pittsburgh Steeler. He also had some moments that made me question his character. Not everything is black and white. 

"How do you view James Harrison's legacy?"

I remember all of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

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