James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker James Harrison is known as one of the hardest working players in NFL history. After signing with the Steelers as an undrafted rookie out of Kent State University in 2002, Harrison spent his first two seasons on the Steeler's practice squad, being cut and re-signed by the time twice before being cut a third and final time in 2003.

He was signed in 2004 by the Baltimore Ravens and was quickly sent to the Ravens affiliate in NFL Europe, the Reihn Fire. He was again released at the end of the 2003 season, and considered giving the game up to become a truck driver, like his father. But when Pittsburgh linebacker Clark Haggans suffered an off season weightlifting injury in 2004, the Steelers offered Harrison a final chance. Harrison showed constant improvement in training camp, making the team out of training camp and sticking with Pittsburgh throughout the season. He played mostly on special teams, but got several chances to play his natural position, and he made the most of the opportunity, even scoring his first career touchdown in the final game of the season.

“While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best…cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better.”

- James Harrison

James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers watches the play develop during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Another injury to Haggans in 2005 paved the way for Harrison to start 3 games. His improvement continued steadily and in 2007 he replaced veteran Joey Porter as Pittsburgh's starting inside linebacker. In 2008, he was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the first undrafted player in league history to win the award. He has been named to the Pro Bowl 5 times, and in 2009 returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown right before halftime of Super Bowl XLIII, at the time a Super Bowl record for longest touchdown.

James Harrison definitely knows the value of hard work. As most parents, he wants the best for his sons, which includes learning the values he had instilled in him. So when his sons James III and Henry received trophies for participating in a local run, the senior Harrison took to Instagram on Saturday to refuse his sons trophies saying he wanted his son's to earn the trophies and not develop a sense of entitlement.

Do you agree with Harrison's stance on "participation" awards for children?


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