FOXBORO -- Following the Patriots' 35-14 win over the Titans Saturday night, the seemingly unsentimental James Harrison -- just ask the Steelers -- scanned the mass of bodies gathered at midfield with one goal in mind: Find Dick LeBeau. LeBeau was Harrison's long-time defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, the man calling the plays when Harrison won the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award in 2008.
The two shared an embrace, said a few words and went on their way. But the moment lingered with Harrison, who, while he wouldn't detail what was discussed, noted: "I have a great deal of respect for him. Without him, there is no me."
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Now the two have gone their separate ways from the franchise where they had their best days. But while LeBeau won't see the Steelers again until next fall, Harrison has a chance to play his former team next weekend should Pittsburgh defeat Jacksonville today. Consider how he left and what was said on his way out by former teammates, you'd guess Harrison would be glued to the television this afternoon.
"No," he said matter-of-factly. "I don't even know what time the game is."
So when will you know who won?
"When I come into work Monday."
Of greater concern for Harrison: Getting in his leg workout today and tuning into the Cartoon Network to watch "Family Guy" and "American Dad."
"I don't pay attention to sports," said Harrison. "I'm not a sports fan. If my kid isn't playing, I don't watch it. If it's not film study, I don't watch it."
Harrison continued his part-time role in the Patriots defense Saturday, playing 30 of a possible 67 defensive snaps. He didn't record any sacks or QB hits as he did in the season finale versus the Jets, but the 39-year old edge player was strong at the point of attack and helped limit Derrick Henry to 2.3 yards per carry one week after Henry went for 156 yards in Kansas City. Clearly the Pats have placed a great deal of trust in Harrison to play assignment football but please -- pretty please ---don't tell the man he looks like he's got this defense down.
"Not even close," he said. "That's like asking someone if they just learned the defense in two weeks. If they know all the calls. It's not going to happen. It's like coming in not even during mini-camp, it's like coming in during OTAs. Do you know everything in Day Two? No. Stop asking me that question. I'm not acclimated. I'm not even close."
Well then . . . good talk. We'll see Harrison out there next week but only after he powers through leg day and enjoys a good laugh at Peter Griffin's expense.