According to a March 2009 study, the average veterinarian in the United States makes $93,398 per year. According to foxsports.com, James Harrison is set to make $13,357,280 for playing football in 2010.
Harrison might want to make note of these statistics if he's serious (cough, cough) about his "retirement" talk.
In 2004, James Harrison had just been cut for about the umpteenth time in his then young NFL career and was about to hang up the cleats for good before he got his fourth (and final) call back from the Pittsburgh Steelers. If that Steelers call hadn't come, rumor had it that Harrison was going to begin study to become a veterinarian. He's even mentioned to this day, that someday that's still what he'd like to do after his football career is over.
In 2010, James Harrison is one of the top playmakers in the National Football League and one of its fiercest defensive stalwarts. On Sunday, he sent not one but two Cleveland Browns to the bench with noodle legs and drool trickling down their chins after two guided missile-style helmet to helmet shots. The league fined Harrison $75,000 on Tuesday.
Harrison didn't take the news well.
The Steelers had to excuse Harrison from practice yesterday because he was so distraught over his treatment by the league that he was allegedly pondering taking his ball and going home:
"I'm going to sit down and have a serious conversation with my coach [Wednesday] and see if I can actually play by NFL rules and still be effective," Harrison said. "If not, I may have to give up playing football."
Refuting Harrison's ludicrous threats in three short paragraphs:
1. When it comes to being a self-absorbed asshole, this is not Harrison's first rodeo. Go look at his Wikipedia page and it's dotted with insolent on-field/locker room behavior, domestic issues, and even a pit bull attack on his young son. His rap sheet is like some weird mash-up of Randy Moss, Michael Vick, and Valerie Malone.
2. If he were to retire, not only would he have to severely adjust his lifestyle going forward (I don't know of a hotjobs.com for $13 million-per-year jobs.), but he would also have to pay back the prorated portion of his signing bonus, approximately $6 million. Riiiight, that's happening.
3. As he gazes off into space dreaming of becoming a veterinarian, someone should probably explain to Harrison that mopping up dog piss on the animal hospital floor is a shitty way to spend a Wednesday afternoon. Even shittier than cutting a $75,000 check to the NFL offices. (Unsung upside to Harrison if he becomes a veterinarian is he would be able to euthanize his own pit bulls before that maul his son's face like it's a bag of Scooby snacks.)
(By the way, when NFL players are cutting checks to the league to pay for fines, who do they make the check out to? Like when you get a speeding ticket, the check is always made out to the county treasurer or a judge or some specific person. Do players have to actually cut the check to Roger Goodell, and if so, can't you just picture Goodell being a power tripping asshole on the phone, smirking and telling the player "When you send the check, it's Goodell with two L's." and then cackling and hanging up the phone? This type of stuff interests me way more than zone blitzes and A-gaps.)
Harrison went on to say:
"But the way that things were being explained to me today and the reasoning for it, I don't feel I can continue to play and be effective and, like I say, not have to worry about injuring someone else or risking injury to myself."
In other words, "I play violent. That's my job. You're penalizing me for doing my job."
James, you're not getting penalized for doing your job, you're getting penalized in large part because you decided to turn yourself into some sort of turbo-charged scud missile on a Sunday afternoon, and in lesser part because (a) you've done it before and (b) you show no contrition.
The place in my heart reserved for those who have been wronged will not be reserved for you, James Harrison. Your situation is not a miscarriage of justice and even if it were, it would run a distant second this week to the poor guy in this story:
TORRINGTON, Conn. (AP) -- A group of teenagers misunderstood a woman's screams during sex and, thinking they were stopping an assault, beat a 25-year-old man in her bedroom, police said.
A 16-year-old girl who lives in the same Torrington home as the 34-year-old woman overheard her and the man on June 6 and rounded up four friends to stop what they thought was an attack, police Lt. Bruce Whiteley said Thursday.
One of the five teens beat the man with a bat and others punched him, police said. The man was treated at a hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening, and was released that night.
"Apparently he didn't have time to explain himself," Whiteley said.
I don't need to tell you, James Harrison, that the goal of any sexual encounter is to get your partner to achieve orgasm. It's the "100-yard pick-six return for a touchdown" of male-female interplay. This unfortunate Torrington man was figuratively high-stepping down the sidelines when the screams of passion were mistaken for screams of pain.
Regardless, there was screaming. The goal was being achieved. And what did he get for his trouble?
A Kobra Kai-on-Daniel Larusso style beat down by a bunch of pimply faced punks about a decade his junior. The only thing missing was skeleton costumes, a mangled bicycle, and the victim wearing a Wes Chandler jersey. That's what!
(Side bar: I grew up about 20 minutes from Torrington and to be fair to the Kobra Kai, there were probably five to ten other fights like this going on within a five-block radius of the house in question.)
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My point is this, James Harrison. I'm seeing through your attention grab. I will shed no tears for you. My tears are reserved for the poor sap who selflessly brings his woman to orgasm and gets his spleen mangled for his trouble. THAT guy is being penalized for being good at what he does. You're being penalized because you're dangerous, and because you wrongfully play the role of the victim. And not even all that well.
....aaaaaaand, right on cue, as I go to hit "SAVE" for this post to go up, news comes down that James Harrison is returning to practice today. Surprise, surprise.
I guess mopping up dog piss can wait. Welcome back, James.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the "Sean & John Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.