James Harrison made an incredible impression in his New England Patriots debut on Sunday, recording back-to-back sacks on the game’s last possession. However, there was a moment of confusion before the game that had people scratching their heads.
While the rest of the Patriots stood together on the sideline during the playing of the national anthem, Harrison stood by himself nearer to the bench. The cameras caught him standing awkwardly by himself and from there things spiraled in a number of directions.
Some joked that it was the byproduct of having spent most of his career hating the Patriots while others suggested it could be some act of protest. But it turns out there’s a significantly more innocent explanation.
Nobody told Harrison that’s what the Patriots do during the Star-Spangled Banner.
The long-time Steelers edge rusher spent all week immersing himself in the playbook so that he’d be ready to make his debut on Sunday against the New York Jets. However, it turns out they might have forgotten to give him a few administrative details about their gameday routine.
“I didn’t know what was going on. I wasn’t cued. They didn’t tell me about that,” Harrison said after the game according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.
The next time the Patriots take the field (at home in the divisional round), Harrison will know better. However, what opposing team’s will be concerned about is that he’ll know the Patriots playbook better, too.