James Harrison will go down in Steelers folklore as one of the franchise's most fearsome defensive players.
The 40 year-old played 13 seasons in Pittsburgh before being waived at the back end of last season and joining the Patriots just a few days later.
Harrison left the Steelers as the all-time franchise leader in sacks with 80.5, but there is undoubtedly a sour taste left in the mouth of the Pittsburgh faithful given the manner of his exit, the foe he decided to join and the way he's spoken about his former team in the months following his departure.
The end had been coming by the time he was finally released in December 2017, with multiple stories emerging surrounding Harrison's almost secluded nature within the locker room amongst other unsavoury rumours about him being a disruptive force.
So, it wasn't really a surprise when he made the ultimate defiant move and signed with the Patriots, nigh-on guaranteeing himself a shot at his former team in the playoffs.
Thanks to a Blake Bortles-led Jags team that shocked the Steelers in the AFC Divisional round, that grudge matchup never took place, but Harrison has nevertheless found his way to take shots at them even now, well in to the offseason.
Harrison did the rounds on FS1's major talk shows Thursday, and he didn't hold back when discussing how the Steelers compared to the Patriots, particularly Mike Tomlin and how he shapes up against Bill Belichick.
Speaking on UNDISPUTED Harrison was asked who was a better coach; “Belichick,” he replied.
“To me,” said Harrison, “yes.”
The former NFL defensive player of the year then elaborated on his reasons for that opinion, and went down the road that many an analyst have taken when discussing Tomlin's pitfalls before. Discipline.
“Mike Tomlin is good as a head coach,” the recently retired linebacker added. “He’s a players’ coach. I think he needs to be a little bit more disciplined. Other than that, the big thing with Belichick is he’s very regimented, he’s disciplined, everyone is going to be on the same page, there’s not going to be anything as far as someone doing their own thing.
I think over there their whole coaching staff is like that. You’re going to know what your doing. There’s meetings after meetings. I’ve never been to so many meetings in my life, and I think that’s really what helped me pick up that defense so fast.”
Harrison went even further later in the day on The Herd with Colin Cowherd as he continued to criticise the entire Steelers staff for their lack of discipline.
“In New England, it’s more regimented,” he said. “It’s more disciplined. The coaching is better to be honest. The plans they put together are better. And they don’t ask their players to do anything outside the realm of what they feel their capabilities are.”
It's been a common criticism of Tomlin in recent times, and one that Cowherd himself has constantly hammered on about. And, to be frank, it's perfectly legitimate to critique him for it.
There have been far too many instances of Steelers teams in recent seasons not being on the ball in key moments of big games and often playing down to lesser competition.