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James Harrison Press Conference Transcript

Posted May 14, 2013

Bengals linebacker James Harrison meets the Cincinnati media during his introductory press conference.

What was it like coming in here to this locker room, with the stripes and the orange and black?
JH: “It’s a change. That’s definite. But, everything has a reason, and everything happens for a reason. So it’s the reason that I’m here. I’m happy to be here, and I’m ready to learn and see what I can do to help the team win.”

The man that wrote your book, Bill Moushey, said of you, “His relentless pursuit of a career in the NFL sums up who he is.” Are OK with that description?
JH: “I’m a professional athlete. That’s what I do, but that’s not who I am. Maybe he’s talking about how I approach everything in life. I’m trying to go out there, whatever it is, and succeed. Whether that’s in business, with my real estate ventures, or whether it’s in football.”

Has anything ever been given to you?
JH: “Nothing has ever been given to me. My mama told me, ‘Nobody is ever going to give you anything; if you want something, you’re going to have to go get it.’ ”

Moushey also said that you’re not that big, and you’re not that fast, but that you often say that if you have to run more than 40 yards, you’re not doing something right. It seems like you see yourself as more of a typical football player:
JH: “That statement is about football in general, especially because it’s a team sport. If I’m out there with 10 other guys, and they’re running the ball, and I need to run more than 40 or 50 yards, then it’s an issue and everybody’s not doing their job. They’ve got to run through you before they get past you.”

What is your definition of AFC North football?
JH: “I don’t know, now. They’re starting to throw the ball (laughs). It used to be smashmouth (laughs). I don’t know what it is now; it’s a combination of the two. But it’s a rivalry of four teams that genuinely don’t like each other, but have a mutual respect.”

What was your view of Andy Dalton as a quarterback?
JH: “I don’t have a view. Next question.”

How long has it been since you felt this good physically?
JH: “I probably haven’t felt this good since, I don’t know, 2008, the beginning of 2009.”

What has feeling good physically for the first time in that long allowed you to do this offseason that you maybe haven’t been able to do in recent offseasons?
JH: “I’m still not able to do certain things, but as far as my physical health, I’m able to train a lot harder than I have been over the last two, three offseasons. I’m able to do a lot of more weight. I’m able to just do a lot more things that my body physically couldn’t do because of injury, or whatever it may be.”

Moushey said that he’s never seen anyone put as much focus, time and money into their body as you. How important is your body?
JH: “My body is what helps me to make money. Whatever there is that I need to do to try and make myself better or get myself healthy, I’m going to do it. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that I spend anywhere between $400,000-$600,000 on body work, as far as taking care of my body, year-in and year-out.”

As far as time during the day, how much do you put into your body?
JH: “Getting stretched – maybe an hour or so. Ice tub, hot tub, cold tub – maybe another extra 30 or 40 minutes. Massage – maybe another two-to-four hours per day.”

You obviously already have a presence in the locker room with all the skins on the wall that you have. What’s your philosophy on mentoring young players in the league?
JH: “A guy can ask me anything. I’ll tell him the truth. It may not be what he wants to hear, but it’s an approach of being a professional. Your job is to play football. There’s a lot of people out there that want to do what we do but just don’t have the physical talents to do it. You’ve been blessed with that physical talent. If you want to be able to stay in this business for a while, you’re going to have to take care of your body. You want to do that, you’re going to have to spend money. It’s not cheap. You want to stay here awhile, you’ve got to learn. Maybe for the first four or five years you’re getting a little faster, and after that you start slowing down. You’ve got to make it up with knowledge of the game.”

With all those skins on the wall, everybody in the organization that met you says “Man, this guy’s humble.” Where did that humbleness come from?
JH: “I would say that comes from my mom and dad. I’m the youngest of 14. My dad, he took care of all of us. He worked his butt off, day in and day out.”

Did you ever fight to eat, being the youngest of 14?
JH: “No, see I got lucky. I’m like eight years removed from the next sibling. There wasn’t anybody eating any more baby food when I came around (laughs).”

You said you spend $400,000-$600,000 a year on your body. Can you say on what?
JH: “As far as training, I have a hyperbaric chamber. I rent a hyperbaric chamber when I’m in Arizona. I have massages and I bring people in from New York, Arizona to where I’m at. There’s that cost. Like I said, I get body work almost every single day except Saturday and Sunday. I have a homeopathic doctor and I do a lot of homeopathic things. It’s just a lot, supplements, so on and so forth.”

How much different is that now than say, 10 to 12 years ago when you were younger?
JH: “I didn’t know what a massage was. I take it back. I was getting a lot of massages. I was going to the chiropractor, too. You know, it’s everything. I started off with just one massage person and my chiropractor. Getting massages from different people, probably tried out maybe 150 different massage people. Right now I’m down to, maybe, I believe it’s five ... actually I believe six. I have six people that I directly see.”

Now will they travel here?
JH: “Yeah. They’ll stay with me."

You’ve got a masseuse, an acupuncturist and what else?
JH: “I’ve got a masseuse, got an acupuncturist, got a trainer, got another masseuse and another masseuse and a homeopathic doctor. I think that’s it.”

Did you know anything about Vontaze Burfict before you came here?
JH: “No I didn’t. I can’t say that I did.”

You made no secret that you wanted to stay with the Steelers. You also made no secret you’ll use whatever you need to motivate you. How much of a motivation is it that you’re not necessarily where you wanted to be when you signed?
JH: “I understand it’s a business, so it’s not like I can really take it personally. But to say that it doesn’t motivate me in some sense would be a lie.”

How big has (Steelers Defensive Coordinator) Dick LeBeau been in your career?
JH: “I credit Dick LeBeau with everything that I do. Without him, I’m not up here. He has great knowledge of the game, and the understanding of how to draw up the way defenses are built to make his linebackers successful.”

Do you play mean?
JH: “Like mad? No.”

How would you describe your mental state on the field?
JH: “It’s focus. It’s intense. It’s violent. Because it’s a violent game. You can’t go out there with a smile on your face. I’m not out there mad at the world, making up scenarios in my head just so I could go out there and play a little harder. It’s focus and intense 100 miles an hour."

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