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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Steelers = Raiders?

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> Today is Joe Starkey’s day for columnizing, and he tackles James Harrison and the Steelers, and he writes of the latter: “This franchise has become the modern-day version of the 1970s Oakland Raiders. Outlaws of the NFL.”

I’m sure we’ll all be discussing this one for … oh, years, right?

>> We’ll have our regular weekly chat today at noon, and we’ll be able to get into that and all kinds of stuff then.


  1. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    Starkey and many others are right on the money.

    What’s really amazing is that I might be more proud to call myself a Pirates fan right now than a Steelers fan. :D

    I will say this, though. I don’t think there needs to be chemistry between a great defensive player like James Harrison and the quarterback. Buddy Ryan’s 85 Bears defense went their own way and didn’t like the offense. That was a divided locker room and the defense was still dominant.

  2. Link Mendoza says:

    Just wanted to tell you that you did another great job at the all star game. People can argue about whether “clutch” exists in baseball all they want, but as far as sports reporters go, you are Clutch with a capital C. Anytime there is a big event, you knock it out of the park. As a Pittsburgh sports fan, I’m glad you are here. Thanks for all the great work.

  3. JAL says:

    Some morning Links

    Pirates Prospects

    2011 Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Deadline Preview

    Pirates Sign 8th Round Pick Jason Creasy

  4. JAL says:


    What To Expect From The Rotation In The 2nd Half

    The Green Weenie

    No Retreat, No Surrender

  5. JAL says:

    Bleacher Report

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Pirates Set Sights on ‘Impact Player’ Before Deadline

    MLB Trade Speculation: Who Can Pittsburgh Pirates Actually Buy at the Deadline?

  6. JAL says:

    Behind the Steel Curtain

    Harrison’s Latest Explosion Hits Too Close To Home

  7. leefoo says:

    DK rated Bencsko the fastest player in our system. Nice to finally read something about him.

    Nice to also have some REAL games to get excited about! Let’s get the second half started off great!!!!

    Fast Foo

  8. Jonathan says:

    Isn’t this just a case of James being James? I think Ben and, probably, Rashard had the same reaction that I had – there goes James making a cartoon of himself. Fine him if you want, but I still want him playing.

  9. leefoo says:

    Someone needs to tell Harrison that the DEFENSE lost that game, not Rashard or Ben.

    We scored enough points to where we should’ve been salting the game away in the 4th qtr rather than trying to catch up.

  10. Drew71 says:

    Like all analogies, one can dig deep enough to find holes.

    At the team/player level, the analogy works. At the franchise level, one can poke a hole.

    The Raiders management/ownership of the 70s actually ENCOURAGED, even SOUGHT OUT characters. Their version of Money Ball. Rough Riders, in that era, were undervalued, but not necessarily under-talented.

    Steelers management/ownership do not seek it out. They just tolerate it, evidently.

    Though in this age, I’m not sure they have much of a choice.

    And I’ll let others decide if the difference between encouragement and tolerance is just one of semantics.

  11. Naterosboro says:

    Someone needs to tell Harrison that the DEFENSE lost that game, not Rashard or Ben.

    We scored enough points to where we should’ve been salting the game away in the 4th qtr rather than trying to catch up.

    Um, not to be revisionist or anything, but it was 14-0 after quarter #1. 7 of those 14 came on a pick 6 thrown by Ben. In the next 3 quarters, the score was 25-14 Steelers.

    Defense gave up 21 pts that game. O scored 25.

    If you’re going to call it anything, it was a team loss. Certainly NOT all on the D like you are suggesting Lee.

  12. Curt says:

    I feel like they lost some of their grip when Dan Rooney left for Ireland. Seems like he didn’t tolerate this kind of stuff. I know many will bring up the infamous Ced. Wilson / Harrison incidents of 2007. The Steelers have been the center of the wrong attention for several off-seasons in a row. Its tough to see/read about.

  13. Walter White says:

    DK or anyone else, can you confirm this from one of the Bleacher Report links that JAL posted (by the way, JAL, thanks for doing the links, as a long-time lurker they have been a good resource to have almost all the Pirates news/speculation in one place). Anyways, in one of the articles, it says that Huntington confirmed that the team was not interested in a two-month rental. It doesn’t actually quote Huntington, and I know that the Bleacher Report is less than reliable. I don’t remember this ever being said, and I’ve followed the rumors pretty closely, but it’s possible that I missed something.

  14. Curt says:

    Tim Kurkjian gave his second half storylines of the season. He had the Pirates surprise run as one of them. He thinks they’ll stay in the race for some time and finish at least .500. Think that’s cool he views them as one of the main stories for the rest of the MLB season. ESPN haters now may attack. Lol.

  15. Fat Jimmy says:

    Curt, as Ed Bouchette has been pointing out on Twitter, it’s a falacy to believe that the Steelers have never had turmoil, bad behavior, etc. — whether it was under Dan Rooney, Bill Cowher, or even Chuck Noll.

    I honestly couldn’t care less about what Harrison said. The players are locked out, so the NFL has no business commenting or legislating anything any player does during this time. I think the NFLPA should have a major beef if any player is suspended for anything they did or said during a LOCKOUT.

    And, to me, that’s all that matters. I actually LIKE my rush linebackers having an attitude. James Harrison is mean and nasty. Good. If that bubbles up into his mouth a few times, fine with me. Register 15 sacks and beat the holy H-E-double hockey sticks out of Joe Flacco and it’s all good.

    Ben and Rashard don’t care. They know he’s crazy. They’re as scared of him as every offensive player in the league is scared of him. I dig that.

  16. JMB says:

    This is about the Giants, but it works, albeit less well, for the Pirates too. I dont think the Pirates will acq. Beltran, but they need to make SOME moves to give this team its own “We got Cliff Lee, dude” moment, as Texas had last season.

    “what management owes its players… and fans”

    “all of this money and attention congeals into a responsibility, too.”

  17. Naterosboro says:

    And, to me, that’s all that matters. I actually LIKE my rush linebackers having an attitude. James Harrison is mean and nasty. Good. If that bubbles up into his mouth a few times, fine with me. Register 15 sacks and beat the holy H-E-double hockey sticks out of Joe Flacco and it’s all good.

    I’ve been trying to say this for a day now. Thank you Jimmy for putting it into words that I could not.

  18. JMB says:

    @FJ sums up my feelings on Harrison to a T.

  19. buckeyehba says:

    When we read about who the Pirates might bring in, we keep hearing about Pena, etc. I jsut don’t think that will happen. I really enjoyed JAL’s link to Bleacher Report to hear about good potential hitters that are blocked from rising and about clubs that need pitching. That is , after all, the master plan for developing this team. It is now the time to give up pitching for “young” hitting.

  20. dcpinpgh says:

    If the Rooney Family is OK with someone shooting at a police helicopter they will let anything slide that let’s them win games

  21. JMB says:

    Nice primer on the stable of P’s in the minors from Tim Williams @ Pirates Prospects.

  22. Fat Jimmy says:

    Wow, JMB, our minor league pitchers sure do suck.

    Hopefully I can write this without someone giving me the “Can’t we just be happy about how great the team is doing” schtick: for all the credit Huntington is getting for the team’s record this year, the minor leagues may very well be barren.

    I mean, seriously. Maybe all of these pitchers are having off years as they adjust to new levels. Maybe minor league statistics don’t mean as much as we think they do. Maybe they’re all concentrating on new aspects to their repetoires and they’ll start kicking ass next season.

    Or maybe they all suck. Maybe our GM isn’t 1/2 of the minor league rebuilder that he is given credit for.

    It makes me nervous. I’m not going to lie.

  23. cfjohnsn56 says:

    Re:Steelers/Raiders comparison

    The Steelers were never the shining example of good characters that the league has touted. What they were was lucky to not have lived in a world with 24/7 news coverage, social media access for everyone on the planet to put their sometimes vitriol, sometimes delusional and often times controversial opinions out there for the world to read.

    We’ve all said stupid things in our time and things that we wish that we could take back or have put a little more polish on and that includes all of the fabled and hallowed Steelers of teams past. They just didn’t have the “luxury” of the internet and a TMZ-style fascination with all-things celebrity to push it out to the rest of the population.

  24. dcpinpgh says:

    How much does the Pittsburgh media cover for the Steelers. When the whole Big Ben thing went down SI said KDKA had video of him riding without a helmet and chose not to air it so not to make the Steelers mad.

  25. pattonbb says:

    That James Harrison story is a little disturbing on several levels. I wouldn’t care about him calling out fellow players, if he would have mentioned his performance was pretty bad in that game as well. I mean, Clifton made him a total non-issue. Am I the only one who watched that game and kept thinking, “Ok, Harrison is about to make his presence felt right here…”, only to watch him get pushed around the play time after time? What did he have, 1 tackle?

    Look, I love the attitude, but at some point you have to show some restraint. You just can’t say those kind of things about the commish. If anyone deserves to be critical of the commisioner, it’s James harrison. But to use those names shows an incredible lack of intelligence, and a lack of respect for the organization that has made Harrison incredibly wealthy.

    The most disturbing part of that article (to me), is the picture of James with the handguns. I have all kinds of guns in my home. I shoot, hunt, and support the NRA. But to pose with the guns in a weak attempt to look tough? Bad idea, James…very bad idea. If he wants to be a gangster, he can take his talents elsewhere.

  26. I’d trade Harrison to the worst team in the NFL after his comments about Ben and Mendenhall

  27. JMB says:

    The picture is an homage to the ‘Hitman’ video game cover, and it goes with the title of the article.

  28. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    The Pirates play 10 more games against the Brewers; 13 more against the Cardinals.

    The Cardinals and Brewers play 12 times.

    Not even counting the Reds, that’s going to be a lot of serious divisional action.

    We’ve hung in there so far but you look at the Cardinals with Pujols back healthy and starting to emerge this season, along with Berkman and Holliday and then the Brewers with Fielder, Braun, Weeks and company, that’s going to be a tough race for the Buccos to win, being perfectly honest.

    Hurdle is a terrific manager and he has this clubhouse right where he wants it. That’s a good start. But they’re going to need a boost. They haven’t been in contention for awhile. This is usually how it works. The team battles and stays close and then management helps them out for the stretch run.

  29. PhillyJake says:

    Chat Cancelled.

  30. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    McCutchen is in prime MVP position for the reasons I just mentioned.

    Both the Cardinals and Brewers have premier sluggers in Pujols and Fielder specifically.

    If the Pirates are going to stay close, Cutch will almost certainly have to perform at an extremely high level and that will put him at the front of the MVP discussion.

  31. pattonbb says:

    @JMB – I get that, I really do. But to me, it still comes off as a bad idea. Maybe they could have dressed him in the suit, or given him the barcode tat. I just thought it was poor taste considering how much trouble some ballplayers have had with handguns.

    I’m not trying to start some “anti-Harrison” movement. I just wish he’d think twice before opening his big mouth.

  32. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    If by chance something does happen with Harrison, the Steelers should be fine at outside linebacker. I think the kid they drafted from Fresno State, Chris Carter, could be an animal. Worilds looked promising last year. Woodly, of course, if they can sign him to a long term deal. Timmons is even an option at outside linebacker. They like Sylvester inside and still have Farrior and Foote for the time being.

  33. Bizrow says:

    Getting rid of Harrison would open up some salary cap space

    I’m just sayin…..

  34. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    I’ve been wrong before and I realize sometimes college play doesn’t translate to the NFL. But if I’m wrong about Chris Carter I’ll be surprised.

    I’ve seen him play on Tuesday nights, Wednesday nights, Thursday nights, Saturdays, when he’s had a cast on his arm, in games where his team is getting blown out, and he always showed up and made his presence felt. He gets very low in rushing the passer, similar to Harrison.

  35. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    Maybe get rid of Harrison and sign Asomugha.

  36. JMB says:

    The Clemens prosecutor is either an absolute idiot, or he threw the case.

    I honestly wouldnt care if they prosecuted Clemens, but I have to question the racial motivations especially after they kept going back for Bonds.

  37. Fat Jimmy says:

    Losing James Harrison would be an unmitigated disaster.

    He is the most explosive OLB in the game. And if the refs would ever start calling holding against him, he’d have 30 sacks in a season.

    I want my quarterback to be intelligent. I want my coach to be intelligent. I want my owner to be intelligent. I don’t care if my rush linebacker can tie his own shoelaces.

    Thing is: Harrison is a smart guy. And he’s not a “bad” guy. He’s just a mean guy. And a tough guy. He is the living, breathing epitome of Jules Winfield’s wallet.

  38. dcpinpgh says:

    @ JMB, any name you want to throw at Clemens, Bonds is a bigger one (except if you use anything about the world series) That is why he is the target

  39. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Jimmy: Beautifully put on Harrison.

  40. Bizrow says:

    All I’m saying about Harrison is what the heck was he thinking?

    I know the interview was given a while ago, but the timing taking the Ward thing into account….

    Like they said on the FAN this am, maybe James is peeved at Big Ben for not getting a wedding invite.

    As far as the cancellation of the chat today, I was hoping Dejan was busy investigating a package deal trade with the PBC involved.


    Is it Friday, yet??

  41. Bizrow says:

    Regarding Clemens and Bonds, on one hand, I’m thinking, what, is this all Congress and the like have to do?

    On the other hand, I’m thinking if you lie to Congress or under oath, no matter what the topic is, well, the line is crossed.

    I read somewhere that now Clemen’s defense team is going to argue double jeopardy

    I heard the procecutors were Dr Fine, Dr Howard and Dr Fine. Three Stooges….

  42. pattonbb says:

    @Fat Jimmy, your last sentence might be the single greatest description of who James Harrison is, that I ever heard.

  43. Naje says:

    @ Jimmy – Jules Winfield’s wallet has nothing on Harrison’s stare. But it is great comparison.

  44. T.J. says:

    Regarding the whole James Harrison, Hines Ward and so on and so forth with the Steelers…I have one thing to say…”Let’s Go Bucs!”.

  45. DavedigsDKsblog says:

    Harrison has been a terrific player but the Steelers have not had trouble finding rush linebackers. I don’t think it would be difficult to find another player in that mold to be a destructive force in the Steelers scheme.

  46. DavedigsDKsblog says:

    I agree though with Jimmy.

    Good point.

    He’s a bad dude and that’s it. Don’t have to be a nice guy off the field.

    I don’t want them to get rid of him yet but if something did happen and they wanted to go in a different direction they’ll find another one.

  47. JAL says:

    Moskos optioned to Indy, 3rd round pick Dickerson signed

  48. DannyMoe says:

    Beimel back from DL tomorrow. Ohlendorf solid in rehab stint.

  49. DavedigsDKsblog says:

    Great news, JAL.

    Dickerson is an advanced hitting prospect. Defense is shaky but his bat should play rather quickly.

  50. Bizrow says:

    Thanks, JAL, any word on the cost?

    That could mean that Bell is not signing

  51. absolute59 says:

    FJ says “Harrison is a smart guy.” I disagree…”a smart guy” does not call out his QB and RB about some missed plays in the Super Bowl.

  52. JAL says:

    nothing on the cost yet

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