Starkey: Harrison should quit complaining

| Thursday, May 26, 2011

Apparently, there are at least two angry James Harrisons in the world.

One is a well-known Steelers linebacker with the Twitter handle @jharrison9292 and 46,156 followers. The other is a budding computer scientist, a self-described "geek, hacker, coder, developer and builder of many things" living in Oxford, England, going by the handle @jamesharrison with 361 followers.

Guess which one has a blog titled "Talk Unafraid — The (occasionally coherent) ramblings of a geek?"

That would be the second James Harrison, who looks nothing like a linebacker but very much like a character from "Revenge of the Nerds." He is a second-year student at the University of London (which, I believe, appears on Penn State's non-conference football schedule in 2012).

For all their differences, the two sound remarkably alike. Consider some recent tweets ...

Geek: "Whoever thought merging keyboard and mouse ports into a single PS/2 connection is an utter idiot."

Linebacker: "I'm absolutely sure now after this last rule change that the people making the rules at the NFL are idiots."

Somebody — certainly not me — should tell @jharrison9292 that the people making the rules at the NFL include his team president, Art Rooney II.

That doesn't mean Rooney was totally in favor of the latest tweaks on head shots, but he was one of the owners who ratified them by a unanimous vote of 32-0.

Truly, the latest legislation isn't much more than an affirmation of last year's crackdown on launching and head hits — which happened to cost @jharrison9292 more money ($100,000) than any player in the league. The caveat is that teams now could be fined if their players exceed a yet-to-be determined threshold of flagrant fouls.

Ejections also are possible if officials deem a hit egregious enough.

I'm all for holding teams accountable. The Steelers flipped out last season, maybe in a good way, deeming the NFL's crackdown a personal affront and using it to fuel to their improbable run to the Super Bowl. It was them against the football world. Everybody from Harrison to Troy Polamalu to Hines Ward ripped the NFL.

But the key phrase above is to the Super Bowl . The Steelers got there, proof they could thrive in spite of whatever changes the league made. The rules did not and will not change the Steelers' personality. They will remain the most physical defense around.

Somebody — certainly not me — should tell @jharrison9292 to get over himself and adjust to the rules like everybody else. His constant whining, which included the ludicrous threat to retire last season, does nothing but make him look bad and turn himself and his team into a target.

The rule is clear: Don't be a missile. Don't launch yourself head-first into a defenseless player, and don't hit a defenseless player in the head.

If the worst that comes of it is players such as @jharrison9292 passing up the occasional video-game kill shot, so be it. The game will continue to provide us with heaping helpings of the violence we crave.

Was anyone complaining about a lack of physicality in last year's Steelers-Ravens playoff game• Of course not. As I sit here, I'm looking at a photograph from that day, showing @jharrison9292 burying Joe Flacco face-first in the turf with a perfectly legal hit (I'm also looking at a tweet from @jamesharrison that reads, "Sobriety is overrated. Massively").

A week earlier, the New York Jets played one of the finest defensive games you'll ever see. They blew up the New England Patriots' blocking schemes and made Tom Brady look like a rookie — and did so without launching themselves into players' skulls. They were Jets, not missiles.

Punishing defense is possible within the parameters of the new NFL. Maybe @jharrison9292 should take a harder look at himself and realize he was the only Steelers player who had multiple issues with hits on defenseless players last season.

Somebody — certainly not me — better tell this guy to clam up and play. This isn't the end of the world. The end of the world was predicted for last Saturday, you'll remember, and did not happen, which prompted a legendary tweet from our computer scientist, heretofore known as Jimmy the Geek:

"I wouldn't really mind if it was the end of the world. At least it'd be decisive."

He sounds angry.

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