Just Because: The same name as a star -- FB James Harrison
Before the Steelers linebacker, the original James Harrison was a Bears fullback in the early 1970s.
James Harrison had one of his most impactful plays of the season Sunday when he intercepted Browns quarterback Jason Campbell and ran it back for one of the best disallowed pick-6s you'll ever watch. See what I mean?
And while Harrison is a five-time Pro Bowl linebacker who's slowly nearing the end of his standout career, we're here to remind you that Harrison wasn't the only James Harrison to make an impact in the NFL.
From 1971-74, another chap named James Harrison played the fullback position for the Bears, and in 1972 -- his best season -- he recorded 622 yards and two touchdowns on 197 carries, good enough for second on the team in rushing behind quarterback Bobby Douglass.
Actually, his full name was Hulet James Harrison and he went by Jim, but for our purposes, we're calling him James. Yep, good old James Harrison from Chicago. Who looked like this (via Football Card Gallery):
Here's where the Bears stood at the time Harrison was leaving college. Gale Sayers, the Hall of Fame running back, was nearing the end of his career, and after carrying the ball just 23 times for 52 yards in two games during the 1970 season, Chicago drafted Harrison in the second round in 1971 after selecting his Missouri teammate, running back Joe Moore, in the first round.
Seemingly, the Bears -- and Sayers -- were optimistic. From the Lawrence Journal-World:
Together, Moore and Harrison were supposed to take over for the gimpy Sayers -- whose career was done after the 1971 season -- but Harrison played only two games in 1971 and Moore was mostly a non-factor. In 1972, Harrison was the team's top running back, but Chicago acquired halfback Carl Garrett from the Patriots before the next season and Harrison was moved to more of a blocking back role.
He ended rushing for a touchdown and catching two more in 1973, but those Bears squads, led by coach Abe Gibron, were bad. After the 1974 season, Harrison was no longer in the league -- and neither, for that matter, was Gibron.
But that was OK by Chicago. Because in 1975, the Bears drafted another running back, and this one actually would become the franchise's best player.
His name was Walter Payton.
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