TAMPA – Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees would obviously rather be preparing his unit to play in Super Bowl XLIII, but in a sense, this is a nice consolation prize for him.
When Pees was head coach at Kent State from 1998-2003, he helped tutor James Harrison, the ferocious Steelers outside linebacker and current NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
On one of the biggest stages of football, Harrison paused today to reflect on how Pees influenced his career.
“He had an open mind with me, and didn’t worry about any of the things I did previous to being there. Once I got there, it was ‘I don’t care about what you’ve done in the past, it’s about right now, and going to judge you from here on out.’ That really helped me,” said Harrison, who played at Kent State from 1999-2001.
Harrison said he’s kept in touch with Pees, their most recent conversation coming after the Steelers’ 33-10 victory over the Patriots on Nov. 30.
Asked one thing that stands out from what Pees taught him, Harrison said: “Be accountable for what you do and take responsibility.”