With NFL free agency set to officially begin on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m, one controversial player could do the unthinkable and play for a hated arch-rival.
A notion once thought of as so unimaginable in seeing a particular player long associated with a particular team switching sides is more common place then you think.
James Harrison, a former Defensive Player of The Year and two-time Super Bowl champion, was recently released by the Pittsburgh Steelers after failing to come to an agreement on a pay cut.
With the 34-year old Harrison now a free agent, there are a number of teams that could use his services, one of them being the AFC North rival Browns.
As if the image of Harrison in Browns uniform is revolting enough (look to the left!), the opportunity to exact a bit of payback against his former employer may be too good to pass up.
The mere sight of seeing Harrison in a Browns uniform might be cause for “Steeler Nation” to revoke his permanent visa and be declared enemy of the sate amongst many in Pittsburgh.
While Harrison has along and not-so-nice history with Browns fans due to his controversial hits on Colt McCoy, Mohamed Massaqoui and Joshua Cribbs, Fans must also realize that the NFL is a business after all, and if a former AP NFL Defensive Player of The Year, who has won a couple of Super Bowls is available and wants to play for your team, would you pass it up due to that player’s past transgressions?
Let’s look at this objectively and say for the sake of argument that the Browns are in need of a serious attitude and veteran leadership, what Harrison could bring to Cleveland is some much needed bite to a team more known for playing like a bunch of hapless puppies.
No disrespect to the Browns defense, but Cleveland’s defensive unit was at times softer than Sharman toilet roll from a attitude and nastiness point of view.
With Cleveland needing help for it’s new 3-4 defense and former Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton, now defensive coordinator, a potential partnership of Harrison and the Browns is not as far fetched as one may think.
While Harrison is not reviled in Northeast Ohio like Art Modell and LeBron James, Harrison brings his own unique brand of infamy, as being a Steeler in Cleveland carries a certain level of tension with it.
And Harrison is not the first player—and former tormentor—from a rival team to play for another.
From 1988 until 1999, Buffalo Bills Hall Of Fame running back Thurman Thomas simply destroyed the Miami Dolphins for more than a decade.
With Buffalo over the salary cap and unable to keep Thomas in 2000, the former Oklahoma State standout would do the unthinkable and sign with the hated Dolphins before sustaining a career-ending knee injury.
Most recently, former Baltimore Ravens running back and former Browns tormentor, Jamal Lewis would sign with Cleveland as a free agent in 2007.
Lewis would rush for 2,066 yards in 2003, most notably a–then—NFL single-game rushing record of 295 yards. Lewis would gash the Browns again by rushing for 205 yards in a Week 16 romp.
While Harrison may be on the downside of his career and be looking for one last payday, Cleveland would be wise to do some business with a former nemesis in Harrison, while at the same time teaming up to defeat a common new one from the Steel City.
Robert D. Cobb is the Founder/CEO/Senior Editor-In-Chief Of The Inscriber : Digital Magazine, for questions, comments and concerns email me at [email protected] and follow the Inscriber : Digital Magazine on Twitter at @TheInscriber