Why, James Harrison? WHY? WHY?!?

My loyalty to the Pittsburgh Steelers is unquestioned.  I don’t even participate in fantasy football leagues, because I can NOT, in my heart, ever draft a player from the Jets, the Browns, the Ravens, the Bengals, the Cowboys, the Giants, the Bills, the Packers, and certainly not from the New England Patriots.

I can not and will not do that.  I don’t care if the Steelers are in a rebuilding year.  I don’t care if they’ve gotten bounced out of the playoffs in the first round.  All I care is that the Black and Gold are always in the match and they always play with grit and heart and determination.

And this year could be the Steelers’ year.  Le’Veon Bell is running through defenses like the Kool-Aid Man runs through brick walls.  Even with Antonio Brown on the shelf with a calf injury, Martavis Bryant has demonstrated powerful acrobatic circus catches in the end zone.  And great God almighty, Juju Smith-Schuster has been a freakin’ treasure at wide receiver.  Every time our quarterback throws to these guys or hands off to them, it’s like putting points on the scoreboard in advance.

And our defense?  Strong.  Dominating.  Powerful.  Everybody on the Steelers, from the front line of pro bowlers Markice Pouncey, David DeCastro and Alejandro Villanueva, to the powerful foot of pro bowler Chris Boswell, to our durable quarterback, to rookie stars like T.J. Watt and James Conner and Juju Smith-Schuster, have been phenomenal.  We’ve got eight Steelers designated for the Pro Bowl.  We’re just that damn good.

Yeah, I know we lost a close game to New England a couple of weeks ago, I know this.  I also know that the referees wouldn’t know what a “catch” was.  Jesse James caught the damn ball from our quarterback in the end zone, and if the referees couldn’t see that, then the officiating committee must have hired former New York governor David Paterson as the director of officials.

All in that … and for some misguided reason, some slip up in the Steelers front office, they activated Marcus Gilbert from the suspended list … and released James Harrison.

James Harrison.  The Steelers’ defensive specialist.  The team leader in career sacks.  The guy who ran a Kurt Warner interception back 100 yards for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII.

And all I could think of was, when they released James Harrison, was, “Please dear God don’t let the Patriots sign him.”

Two days later… this showed up on Instagram.

Kill me now.

James Harrison not only signed with the Patriots, he brought the damn Steelers playbook over for Bill Belechick to devour.

This just eliminated every possible chance the Steelers had for a decent match – possibly a win – against the Patriots if both teams met in this year’s AFC Championship Game.  Oh my God this is devastating.

Okay, Chuck … deep breath.  Come on, you’re a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  You’ve got the offense.  You’ve got the defense.  Let’s think about this for a second.

They’ve got James Harrison?  We’ve got pro bowlers on the offensive line.  David DeCastro.  Alejandro Villanueva. Markice Pouncey.  Young studs like Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt.  Try to get past us.  Don’t bank on it.

And you’re still playing for the New England Patriots.  A team full of cheaters and scoundrels and weasels.  All led by Emperor Palpatine in a grey hoodie.  That’s right.  You’re playing for a team that cheats whenever possible.

This goes back a long way.  Deflategate.  Spying on the Rams during walk-throughs.  The stupid Tuck Rule.  The convict riding a snowplow to clear a path for a field goal.

And you’re associating yourself with those cheaters and sneaks and hyenas.  And do you know what playing for the Patriots means?  This guy roots for you.

That’s right.  The New England Patriots are the team of Donald Trump.  He’s buddy-buddy with Robert Kraft and Bill Belechick and Tom Brady and the like.  Heck, I bet Donald Trump’s spent time on Rob Gronkowski’s boat cruises – you know, the ones that are sponsored by Valtrex.

And you’re playing for them, James Harrison.  Of all the teams you could have signed with …

Yeah, I know, I know, it’s not personal, it’s business.  Football is  a business and you have to take what you can get when you can.  I get it.  So many Steelers greats left the team for other franchises.  Franco Harris ended his career in Seattle.  Kevin Greene played his final seasons with Carolina.  Kordell Stewart – Chicago, Baltimore, I lose track.

But I gotta tell you.  It’s not business when you’re with the Steelers.  This is family.  This is the bond between team and fan.  Everyone who brings the Terrible Towel to the game, everyone who wears black and gold on game day – what you did, James Harrison, was a worse crime in Pittsburgh than building a structure out of imported steel.  Heck, Neil O’Donnell throwing two perfect passes to Larry Brown in Super Bowl XXX is no longer the worst thing to happen to Steelers Nation.  Not after this.

Yeah, we should have never let you go.  I get that, I truly do.  But once we did, we saw that you would align yourselves with snakes.  And the worst kinds of snakes any football fan has known.

Foxborough rattlers.

Fine.  Be part of the team of Tony Eason and Scott Zolak and Victor Kiam.  Discover the wonderful world of a three-hour trip down ten miles of U.S. Route 1 on game day.

But I must thank you, James Harrison.  I thank you for all the great moments you gave the Pittsburgh Steelers and Steelers Nation.

And in that same vein …

I have to also thank you for breaking the hearts of Steelers Nation.

And if, by some microscopic chance of luck, you actually get to the Super Bowl and claim another ring…

I will congratulate you on settling for- at this point in your career – earning a participation trophy.