Greg Lloyd isn't one to mince words. He isn't one to dish out compliments. He isn't one to praise someone, just for the sake of being politically correct.
Lloyd tells it like he sees it, and when he sees linebacker William Gay, he likes what he sees.
"James Harrison is a warrior," said Lloyd. "When people see him they don't see a tall guy, but he is massive. I have seen him get underneath people and move them like they aren't even there. I would have loved to have had the chance to play with this guy."
Lloyd didn't stop there. He went on to praise Harrison, and also had other good things to say about Steelers linebackers in this exclusive interview.
How would you define a Steelers linebacker?
Lloyd: "The word tough probably comes first. You have to have total disregard for bodily harm. You have to play with a physical tenacity that is above everybody else on the field. You also have to play with smarts. You can't think about getting hurt. You have to want to win. You also have to be a leader, leading by example.
"I had David Little. Robin Cole, Mike Merriweather. You have the history of the 1970s with (Jack) Lambert, (Jack) Ham and (Andy) Russell. We heard people talk about how smart they were and how tough.
"You have to have smarts, but you have to be tough. If you aren't willing to hit somebody…you have to play until the whistle blows. That is being a Steelers linebacker. You have to be smart, get in your book and take care of your body. That is what the guys before us did. That is what they do now."
Does James Harrison fit the bill of what you just described? Lloyd:** "One hundred percent. When you hear people talk about guys who could play in eras. I look at James Harrison and he could play in any era in football. He is a tough guy. What I love about the kid is he backs up what he says. He is prepared, and he understands what it is to be a linebacker. He understands what his role is and he plays it. He is all out. I like that about him. He isn't flamboyant and says things, he just does it. He has some strange workout regimens, but they work for him.
"For a guy like him to show the young guys what he does in the offseason, that is the carryover. He is an amazing kid for what he does. I can say that because I am older than him. To be in the league for as long as he has, to still be able to play, is good. I look forward to him playing whatever role he has and it's going to be an asset to show those guys and pass the torch on."
Do you watch any of his workouts? Lloyd: "When people bring it to my attention I watch it and say it's different. Different is good. Whatever you have to do to get an edge on your opponent or a guy trying to replace you, you do it. I think it's out there, but it works for him.
"He can take what he does from the weight room standpoint and transfer it to the field. A lot of people can't do that. They do well in the weight room but not on the field. He can do that.
"It's good too he is working with the younger guys. It's passing the torch. I know some of the older guys were almost afraid to show younger guys tricks of the trade. All of us are going to get replaced. When you can show guys what you are doing, and come out and still go to training camp and compete and win the job, it speaks volumes. I will show you what I do, but somewhere in here, I am still going to be the best. I can show you what I can do, but you can't outwork me. It's good to see it in this guy."
Intimidation? Lloyd: "Definitely there. When I first met him from watching him on television he is not tall in stature but you meet him and he is a big kid. To watch him go out and play and take a 300 pound tackle and move him out of the way, he doesn't just play with intimidation, he plays with leverage. He knows how to use his body. You have to still put him in the top tier as one of the top linebackers in the league. He is still a force to be reckoned with."
What about Ryan Shazier?Lloyd: "He would be the Chad Brown. He reminds me of how Chad played. He quietly goes along and gets the job done week in and week out. When you need a big play, you look for James or someone else, but this kid is always around the ball. He seems to know where everybody is. As a middle linebacker when you line up, you need to know where everybody is. I think Lawrence Timmons knows that. I have seen him helping guys out, getting to the football. I love the way this guy flies around and gets to the football. He is going to be an asset to a lot of the young guys. You have (Ryan) Shazier and he is learning from Timmons. He is a smart linebacker. I don't think he gets as much credit as he should."