BOSTON (CBS) — James Harrison spent 99 percent of his NFL career despising Tom Brady.
All it took was a few months as the quarterback’s teammate to change his mind.
The retired linebacker joined FS1’s Undisputed on Thursday and shed some light on his relationship with Brady when he first arrived in Foxboro, and how it changed quickly.
“To be honest with you, I wanted to hate this dude,” Harrison told hosts Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless. “The whole time I’m playing in Pittsburgh, I’m like, ‘I hate Brady.’ Everyone is like, ‘He’s such a nice guy, he’s such a nice guy.’ We had LeGarrette [Blount], he came over and I was like, ‘What’s up with Tom Brady?’ He was like, ‘He’s such a great guy’ and I was like, ‘Stop lying to me.’
“As soon as I get there, who is the first person I see happy with a smile on his face? I was like, ‘He’s just doing this because he has to do this, right? He’s just faking.’ You watch how he acts in the locker room, how he communicates with different guys; guys who have been there forever, guys who are just getting there. And dude, he’s a great guy,” Harrison said of Brady.
Harrison also lauded Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, whose approach is much different than that of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. He said Belichick is by far the better coach, and while Tomlin is a great player’s coach, he could use some of Belichick’s disciplinary ways.
“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,” said Harrison. “I think over there, their whole coaching staff is like that.”
Belichick’s approach can rub some players the wrong way, which has led to reports of friction within the organization. Most notably, ESPN reported late last season that the relationship with Brady, Belichick and owner Robert Kraft was getting a bit toxic.
Harrison wasn’t in New England for very long, but says the stories of friction are fiction.
“All these stories that come out of all this friction and stuff, I honestly believe that it is made up,” he said. “I came in there looking, I was like, ‘I’m going to see what’s going on. They have trouble too, just like everyone else, right?’ I get in there and I see nothing. They were interacting. They were talking. I don’t see any friction. I believe they just make up these stories to pull the team tighter and closer together and that is really all it does.”