With less than eight hours remaining on the 2017 game clock, James Harrison delivered one of the best quotes of the year.

“Monday is legs,” said the newest but not quite oldest member of the Patriots, this after Sunday’s regular season-ending 26-6 victory over the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium. It was an unexpected answer to a garden-variety question about what his focus is as the playoffs approach, and it won him a ton of respect among Pats fans.

Monday is legs.

You can’t get much more Belichickian than that. It was a workout freak’s way of saying, “We’re on to Cincinnati.”

It’s safe to say James Harrison, most recently a disgruntled ex-longtime member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, is off to a good start with the Patriots. He contributed two sacks of Bryce Petty in the waning moments against the Jets and five total tackles. And then the linebacker delivered the line about Monday and legs.

But Harrison is making it clear he is as much businessman as football player. Whether he’s playing or talking, he should be viewed as James Harrison Inc., not just James Harrison, linebacker.


Asked to describe what it was like to suit up with the Patriots for the first time, Harrison might have been expected to break out the flash cards and talk about the so-called Patriot Way and other New England football bumper stickers. It would have been a good time to get it out there that he’s always wanted to play for Bill Belichick, that Tom Brady really is the GOAT, and gee what an honor it is to be on the same team with him.

He’s above all that.

This is how he responded to a reporter’s question about suiting up for the Patriots for the first time: “It felt good, I mean, just like any other team. It’s like you going to report for a different news channel, or a different newspaper. It’s no different than that.”

If there was a fish-out-of-water moment for Harrison, it’s that he was left standing behind the bench, alone, during the national anthem. The rest of the Patriots were lined up in front of him. Being the newest member of the team, he didn’t have all his moves down. That will come.

As for all the other trappings of being with the Patriots, he’s a man who has played 15 seasons in the NFL. Save for one season with the Bengals and one game with the Patriots, all of it has been with the Steelers. Makes no difference.

“It’s football,” he said. “It’s contact.”


Pats fans should be as pleased with this mindset as they are with the man’s regular Monday trips to the weight room to do legs.

Sure, there are some subtle differences. As Harrison pointed out, it’s like being a rookie in that you’re learning “a new game plan, you’ve got to pick things up. When you’re a rookie you have OTAs and minicamp, and I have four or five days to prepare.”

He prepared.

He played.

We’re on to legs.

But just as Harrison is a businessman working for a new company, football fans have a businesslike approach to this that never changes.


Harrison did a lot of barking on his way out of Pittsburgh, and this has inspired a lot of responses from fired-up talk-show hosts, ex-teammates and, of course, fans.

It’s all hot air.

As always, hot air dissipates.

When it’s all over Harrison will return to Pittsburgh and be honored and loved.

Don’t think so? Remember Manny Ramirez coming back to Fenway Park and throwing out a first pitch? Nomar Garciaparra doing the one-day contract thing so he could retire as a member of the Red Sox?

And so it will be with James Harrison in Pittsburgh.

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