Harrison Press Conference

Art Rooney, II:  Good afternoon.  Thanks for being with us today.  It is a busy day today here at the UPMC South Side Complex.  A lot of the players are in for their off-season workout program, some of the players are being fitted for their Super Bowl rings, the schedule is going to be announced tonight and most importantly, we are able to announce that we have signed James Harrison to a new six-year contract.  So it is a very good day.  Over the last several years James has demonstrated time and again that hard work and persistence pays off and that culminated last year with his being named the defensive player of the year and our team winning the Super Bowl.  Coming into this off season it was one of our priorities to extend James' contract and have him continue to be a Steeler for many years and allow us to enjoy the leadership and great player that he has brought to us over the last few years.   So it is a good day.  I want to thank Bill Parise and Omar Khan for their hard work for getting this done.  Now - James, congratulations.

 

James Harrison:I will make this short and sweet. I would like to start by thanking God because none of this would be possible without him. I would like to thank Mr. Rooney; Art and Dan for doing this for me; my coaches. Coach LeBeau, first and foremost, because he is the guy who makes everything work. He draws up the defensive combinations that make me look like I am a star; I do what the puppet master tells me to do. (I also want to thank) the whole Steelers organization because I always wanted to be a Steeler for life. It is not like I wanted to leave here. It's great to be here because we have the best fans in the league. I am happy to be here.

 

Do you have a better season in you than last season?

Hopefully. I try to come in each year and do better than the last. It may not be in numbers, but it may be in the all around total defense.

 

Are you at your peak now?

I don't feel like I have totally peaked. I feel like I can get better at some things that I have seen on tape that I did last year that I feel I can do better this year. As far as learning the defense, I know what I am supposed to do but I don't know what the guy on the left of me is supposed to do; I know what the guy on the right of me is supposed to do. Now I need to figure out what the guys behind me are supposed to do so that I can better help them and then help myself.

 

Have you reflected on how far you have come?

I really don't have time to reflect because we went very deep into the season. I am preparing for next season.

 

Have you talked to your family and what was their reaction?

First thing, my mom said, "How much?" They are real happy for me.

 

How involved were you in contract negotiations?

My agent, Bill Parise, let me know everything that was going down. When he talked to them, then he talked to me. The reason that it took a little longer than we expected was we had to get a clause in there that I can fly with Mr. Rooney before he leaves. That was what took so long. We were holding out for a month before they decided they would let that in there.

 

Is there anything you will approach differently now that you have the new contract?

There is not anything that I think I will approach differently. I will just be a little more reckless on the field because I don't have to worry about too much anymore.

 

What will drive you?

I want to make them proud and not let them down. I don't want them to feel like they gave me this money and now I'm going to go out and not perform. That is what is going to drive me.

 

Was the uncapped year an issue and did you know about that before negotiations?

Going into it, I really didn't know too much. As we got into it, it became an issue to where if they can't get a collective bargaining agreement, then it can cause problems for both me and the Steelers. To come through with the agreement we did, I am happy.

 

What does it mean to get this out of the way?

It is definitely a relief because I can get back to what I do best – practice, workout, run and get ready for another season.

 

Do you like what your team has done in the offseason?

I don't see anything wrong with what they did. I am pretty happy with it. We won a Super Bowl with the team that we have right now, minus a guy or two.

 

Are you eager to see what the schedule will be like?

I can't do anything about the schedule. All I can do is wait for it to come out and then go play once we see who our opponents are.

 

How much longer do you think you can play?

I think I can play all six – maybe a little more.

 

There is a rumor going around two days after the Super Bowl you were in the weight room and you were disappointed that nobody was in there with you:

I go on my own schedule – some guys do things differently. I don't like to be out of it too long because then it takes too long to get back into the shape that you were in.

 

Two days was enough for you to recover from the run?

Yeah it is. That is what took so long, I had to recover from the run.

 

What do you plan to do with your money? Has it sunk in yet?

I don't know that it has really sunk in. I guess it is a lot of money. I guess once I get it in my hand it will be different. I plan on doing some real estate investments. We will see how that turns up.

 

What did you get when you first signed here as a rookie free agent?

$5,000. I know that after taxes it was enough to pay for the motorcycle I got.

 

Do you still have it?

No, I have a newer one.

 

Do you wear a helmet?

Of course – sometimes.

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