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'This is an incredible organization'

Posted Feb 7, 2017

Newcomers in 2016, like Ryan Harris, know how special the Steelers' organization is.

It’s a saying that has been uttered over and over again, in every avenue of life, including sports.

‘The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.’

For some athletes, who have been with one team for an entire career, it’s nothing more than an overused saying.

For others, it’s a fact, it’s the truth.  

Last offseason the Steelers signed free agents Ladarius Green, Ryan Harris and Steven Johnson. And it didn’t take long for them to see how special being a part of the Steelers’ organization is, starting with on the field.

“I was talking to Jesse (James) about it and told him you don’t realize what you have here,” said Green, who spent his first four seasons playing for the Chargers. “You don’t realize you are always going to the playoffs. You don’t realize the coaches and staff you have, the people in the locker room. It’s not like that everywhere. It’s different. You should appreciate it.

“It’s a lot different. Every game you expect to be in it. You expect to win every game. In the locker room, every guy wants to get to know each other and be friends, but they want to win. And they expect to win. That is what makes it so different. They expect the best out of you every time. I love everything about it.”

It wasn’t just the on-field success that had an impact, though. Harris, won a Super Bowl with Denver, and also has played for Houston and Kansas City. Johnson played for Tennessee and Denver.

But there was something different for them in Pittsburgh, something that became even more apparent when they were injured this year. All three came in with high hopes to help the team this year, but all three battled injuries that limited their playing time this year. It could have made teammates be less welcoming, not embrace them. But it was quite the opposite. 

“It was a very scary injury, what I was going through, but this is an incredible organization,” said Harris, who played in just four games before being placed on injured reserve. “Everyone from the coaches, Coach (Mike) Tomlin, Coach (Mike) Munchak, the players, especially the offensive line, they all wanted me around so that helped my healing and that helped me be a part of the Steelers’ family and stay a part of the Steelers’ family. Being around the guys makes everything better. (Maurkice) Pouncey has us to his house and that is special.

“It’s amazing to see the Rooney family multiple times a day or a week. The fact that Mr. (Dan) Rooney knows my name is incredible, especially being a fan of the game for so long. Just everything, from the medical staff, to the coaches, to everyone involved, this is a championship organization and you feel it immediately when you get here.

“The culture of the Steelers and the type of character we have here makes it fuller.”

Johnson, who played in just six games this year and will be an unrestricted free agent in March, said the atmosphere and overall feeling around the team, has him wanting to be back for another run at it.

“It was a little bit tough. I came here with high expectations for myself,” said Johnson. “Then I got hurt. It’s just a part of the game. I was happy that I was able to still be around the team in a tough situation. Coach Tomlin is a great coach. He reminds me of my dad. That is why I am so drawn to this organization.

“I am very grateful for this year. I built my zeal for the game. It grew this year. Being here, there aren’t many places like it. A lot of guys won’t understand it because they haven’t been anywhere else. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I have been on that other side. It’s a good organization here. Good players, teammates, coaches, good owners, good atmosphere. Good locker room. Everything here is good. They are going to put you in the best position to win championships. Being a part of the Steelers Nation, it’s one of a kind.”