One of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history apparently resulted from Steelers linebacker James Harrison improvising, not the Pittsburgh...
LATROBE, Pa. — One of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history apparently resulted from Steelers linebacker James Harrison improvising, not the Pittsburgh coaches’ game plan.
Harrison, after reporting to training camp Friday, revealed he didn’t follow coaches’ orders on his 100-yard interception-return touchdown that ended the first half against Arizona on Feb. 1.
Harrison’s return of Kurt Warner’s pass over the middle intended for Anquan Boldin gave the Steelers a 17-7 halftime lead. They went on to win 27-23 on Ben Roethlisberger’s last-minute touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes.
Of his spectacular TD, Harrison said, “I actually wasn’t supposed to drop on that play; I was supposed to blitz. All night, we were a step late. We had an all-out blitz and I figured if I stepped [out] I could hold my tackle … [then] I would drop off and they would have to do a quick slant.”
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Harrison — the league defensive player of the year last season — guessed correctly, stepped in front of Warner’s pass and took off down the sideline.
He said Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau never questioned why he gambled.
“Technique, opportunity and all that other stuff met [on that play] — and a little bit of luck,” Harrison said. “Sometimes you just feel that might be the play that does it. I guess coach LeBeau didn’t mind it too much.”
• Several first-round draft picks signed contracts or agreed to terms.
The players, with terms where available as reported by NFL.com, were Washington defensive end Brian Orakpo (five years, $20 million, drafted 13th, played college ball at Texas); San Diego linebacker Larry English (five years, drafted 16th, Northern Illinois); Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman (five years, $36 million, drafted 17th, Kansas State); Detroit tight end Brandon Pettigrew (five years, $14.6 million, drafted 20th, Oklahoma State); Atlanta defensive tackle Peria Jerry (five years, drafted 24th, Mississippi); and Miami cornerback Vontae Davis (terms undisclosed, drafted 25th, Illinois).
• Rookie Mark Sanchez of USC got a slight edge from coach Rex Ryan in the first practice of what could be a lengthy battle with Kellen Clemens to be the New York Jets’ starting quarterback.
• New England quarterback Tom Brady said he expects to be on the field in exhibition games — his first action since injuring his left knee in the 2008 regular-season opener. Brady admitted to some arm soreness as he works to get back into football shape.
• Though a judge ruled out-of-work quarterback Michael Vick‘s bankruptcy plan can be sent to creditors for a vote, it remains unclear how the former Atlanta player will get the income to pay them. After creditors vote on the plan, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank Santoro will conduct a confirmation hearing Aug. 27.
• Antonio Pierce, New York Giants linebacker, finished two days of testimony before a grand jury in New York investigating a gun charge against ex-teammate Plaxico Burress. Pierce was with Burress at a Manhattan nightclub when the receiver shot himself in the thigh Nov. 29.