Back when he first came into the league as an undrafted rookie, I was with some other reporters when we happened upon a Steelers assistant coach in a local watering hole at training camp in Latrobe.
We had all been watching this unknown kid out of Kent tearing up blocker after blocker and asked the coach about young James Harrison.
The coach basically said that the kid wasn't going to make it because he didn't want to listen to anyone – coaches, teammates, you name it.
At first, the coach seemed right. Harrison bounced around the league a little bit before finally landing with the Steelers on a full-time basis. It took him some more time before he finally "got it" and began playing within the system, doing what was asked of him.
Was he always a talent? Sure. That much was obvious. But he didn't become a star until he finally realized that football was a team game.
Now, after several years as a star player, we're seeing a Harrison who is seemingly trying to live up to his "bad boy" image.
His statements in a recently released magazine piece seem to reinforce that.
Unfortunately, I've seen this show before. And it was from a player at the same exact position as Harrison.
Back in the '90s, Steelers linebacker Greg Lloyd went from being a team leader and respected locker room presence to a guy who started believing all the hype surrounding himself.
He wasn't afraid to offend anyone, including his own teammates, particularly those on the offensive side of the ball.
Did it adversely affect the Steelers in the locker room? Nope. The offensive guys just shook their heads and wrote it off as Lloyd being Lloyd.
They all have a job to do. When you have 53 men in a locker room, there's a good chance that some of them aren't going to be best buddies. But the organization has to rely on the fact that they are all professionals and that when they get on the field, everyone is going to do their job.
They don't have to like each other. They don't even have to fully respect each other. But everyone has to do their job to the best of their abilities.
Harrison's comments about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his two interceptions in the Super Bowl are something that probably should have been best left unsaid. But at the end of the day, they'll have no bearing on the Steelers moving forward.