First Call: James Harrison defends hit on Mason Rudolph, calls himself a ‘Steeler to the core’ | TribLIVE.com
Breakfast With Benz

First Call: James Harrison defends hit on Mason Rudolph, calls himself a ‘Steeler to the core’

Tim Benz
1773542_web1_JamesHarrison
AP
Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison during a halftime ceremony honoring former Steelers players during halftime of the NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Pittsburgh.

In Monday’s “First Call,” James Harrison weighs in on the Mason Rudolph hit. The medical cart fails at Heinz Field. Marc-Andre Fleury is up to his old tricks.


I beg to differ

In case you didn’t get a clean look at the hit that knocked out Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph, here it is.

Former Steelers linebacker James Harrison had an opinion about the hit that was pretty unpopular in Pittsburgh.

I understand Harrison’s response to the hit from Earl Thomas. People are overreacting to the unfortunate result of the play and labelling the hit dirty and worthy of an ejection.

Frankly, I would say it was 50-50 as to whether a flag should have been dropped. I didn’t even see the officials throw a flag until Rudolph was seen to be out cold. They penalized the injury, not the play. Some injury-causing hits in the NFL are unavoidable.

If that hit could have been avoided, it wasn’t by much. And it was a penalty only by the strict interpretations and rigid restrictions placed on protecting quarterbacks.

So I get Harrison’s premise there.

What I don’t like is him calling himself a “Steeler to the core.”

Really? Would a “Steeler to the core” take a shot at his head coach in the media at every turn, live-stream Antonio Brown’s big “announcement” counter to Mike Tomlin’s press conference and encourage Le’Veon Bell to fake an injury?

Is that being a “Steeler to the core”?


Can I get a jump?

When Rudolph was knocked out Sunday, the medical cart failed at Heinz Field.

That reminded me of the time the Penguins’ Zamboni died on the ice at old Mellon Arena.

Rudolph got up and was helped off the field on his own. But what if he had been unable to walk? There was another field cart that showed up shortly thereafter on the sideline that Rudolph could’ve used.

But if Rudolph was in a state of distress, which initially he appeared to be based on the players’ reactions, that’s a bad look.

Especially since the cart was operational again a few minutes later.


Fleury fun

Leave it to former Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to come up with a way to creatively tweak his opponents.

During a scrum between the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks, Fleury grabbed a stray stick off the ice and just gave it away to the fans via the camera portal.

When Sharks defenseman Brent Burns came over to pick up the lost lumber, it was gone. It became a souvenir.

Nope. Burns wasn’t getting that one back. It was probably posted on Amazon before the period was over.


Look, ma! One hand!

Check out this grab from Duquesne’s Davie Henderson.

That snag came as part of the Dukes’ 21-14 win over Long Island on Saturday. It’s not the first great play by Henderson this year. The wide receiver turned in this gem during the opener against Walsh as well.

That one went for 62 yards. The sophomore has only nine catches on the year. But those two were pretty memorable.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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