Harrison hasn't played for the Steelers in quite some time. He retired in 2017 after a brief cameo with the rival New England Patriots. Harrison's heart remains with Pittsburgh and Mike Tomlin, however, and he doesn't like what he sees.
“The expectations has become we don’t want to have a losing season,” Harrison said on the Feb. 7 episode of “The Pat McAfee Show. “I’m not throwing flak at anybody, but the Pittsburgh Steelers standard is to win Lombardis. When you go into that building, there’s six of them sitting there. And, right now, we’re not even winning a playoff game.”
James Harrison's honesty about the Pittsburgh Steelers is concerning
Harrison was a member of the last great Steelers team coached by Tomlin. The lack of accountability on the current version of the Steelers is a fact that's been echoed by the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, as well. There is clearly something missing in Pittsburgh. Some of that falls on Tomlin, too, but the lack of leaders in the Steelers locker room minus Cam Heyward will limit their ceiling moving forward.
“I think we need to get back to the standard of Pittsburgh Steeler legacy, the lore. And that’s just not what it is," Harrison echoed.
Pittsburgh is retooling this offseason. Their first-round quarterback, Kenny Pickett, hasn't panned out. Pickett will enter his third season under a new offensive coordinator in Arthur Smith. It may be Pickett's final chance to make an impression on the Steelers front office or else they won't pick up his fifth-year option.
Tomlin couldn't reach this young Steelers team in 2023. Frankly, he can only take them so far as currently constructed. Harrison's criticism, however vague, is valid until proven otherwise.