As good as the Ravens defense is, it actually could have been even better.
Back in 2004, when Baltimore was finalizing the roster it needed to bring to training camp, it decided to release a linebacker it had allocated to the Rhein Fire that spring. But it felt it had little choice. The Ravens needed to bring another tight end to training camp so they said goodbye to linebacker James Harrison.
Yes, The James Harrison.
The James Harrison that now ranks third in the NFL in sacks behind Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter and Cowboys linebacker/defensive end DeMarcus Ware.
And The James Harrison who is a half-sack from setting the Steelers all-time, single-season sack record that Mike Merriweather now holds … the Ravens cut him.
“I don’t feel like I have anything to prove to anybody but myself,” Harrison said during a conference call this week. “If somebody wants to say I can’t do something, I want to prove them wrong. But as far as wanting to prove something to the Ravens, no, it’s not my point.”
Harrison has made his point. He has developed into one of the game’s top defensive players, one of its best pass rushers, and the type of defensive weapon that the Ravens have with Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs.
But just imagine how much more lethal Baltimore would be with Harrison. It might be every bit as good as the Ravens Super-Bowl winning defense.