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PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler coached James Harrison for the better part of the 39-year-old’s career.
So, for Butler, following up on Wednesday’s public bashing of Harrison by his former teammates was somewhere he did not want to go.
“I’ve known James for a long time,” Butler said following Thursday’s practice. “I think everyone’s done a good job of talking about it. I’m not going to address it. I don’t think it’s fair to this team, or, and I respectfully say this, fair to James, or fair to the organization.”
The backlash against Harrison comes in wake of the Steelers’ all-time sack leader wanting out of Pittsburgh, according to multiple Steelers players. Once released, Harrison promptly signed with New England Tuesday.
On Wednesday, center Maurkice Pouncey said that Harrison “erased his legacy” in Pittsburgh by signing with the Patriots.
Harrison responded by confirming via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he had asked for a release on three separate occasions in the 2017 season.
But numerous other players, including fellow outside linebacker Bud Dupree, did not hold back.
“He signed with the Patriots to spit in the face of the Rooneys,” Dupree told 93.7 The Fan’s Paul Zeise Wednesday night. “That’s basically what he did.”
Harrison has been accused by younger position mates, including Dupree, of not mentoring them during their development.
It’s a criticism that Joe Haden seemingly is trying to avoid in his first season with the team.
“You’d expect for a vet that’s been in it, that’s been through it, that knows the ins and outs, to mentor guys,” he said in a much more sedated locker room Thursday evening. “I think the ones that don’t are guys that are just worried about their position, worried about someone taking their spot, and I don’t feel like that’s a good locker room guy.”