Hard Hat Award (Game #10, vs. Chargers)
Stillers LB Jamie Harrison and RB Gary Russell are the co-winners of the weekly Hard Hat Award, given to the Stiller player who best embodies the iron-tough, hard-as-steel attitude of the steel workers inside the blast furnace of a still mill.
Russell came out of nowhere to make major contributions with a gritty, determined effort. The Stillers had been stuffed on 2 short-yardage attempt against the Chargers, including a 4th & goal at the 5-inch line. Coupled with last week�s embarrassing woes in the short-yardage game, Stiller fans were getting ready to storm the field and maul the offense the next they trotted back from a failed short-yardage attempt. On the 1st drive of the 3Q, the Stillers soon faced a 3rd & 1, and in came Russell, who�d carried the ball once in the past 3 games combined. Russell hit the small crease up RG like a bolt, and gained 6 yards and a huge 1st down. The crowd roared as a huge weight was lifted off the entire offense. Armed with a rejuvenated spirit, the offense continued its march, and 10 plays later Reed booted a FG. Later in the 3Q, Russell barged ahead on another 3rd & 1 and got 4 yards for another key 1st down. Russell also gave the team its best KO return work of the season, busting tackles on each of 2 KO returns with stellar, determined running. For a young player to enter a game stone cold and contribute in a pressure short-yardage situation, and on KO returns, says a lot about this man�s toughness, intestinal fortitude, and tenacity.
Other player receiving consideration from The Committee were WR Hines Ward, who had a stellar game amidst 3 costly holding/illegal block penalties; center Justin Hartwig, who gamely fought off huge NT Jamal Williams; and CB Will Gay, who made his first NFL start and played solidly. It bears repeating that there is almost always -- if not always -- a strong correlation between the number of players in consideration for the Hard Hat, and if the team won or lost. Simply put, Hard Hat kind of football leads to victory; pansy football (a term used here long before Troy Pola popularized it) leads to defeat.
Kudos to Harrison and Russell for winning the Hard Hat Award. Wear the Hard Hat proudly, fellas!
Previous 2008 Hard Hat Winners:
Week 1, vs.
Week 2, @ Clev: Keyaron Fox and Jamie Harrison
Week 3, @ Phil:
Week 4, vs. Balt: Jamie Harrison and LeMarr Woodley
Week 5, @ Jax: Ben Roethlisberger
Week 6, @ Cinci: Mewelde Moore
Week 7, vs. NY Giants: Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel
Week 8, @ Skins: Byron Leftwich and Jared Retkofsky
Week 9, vs. Colts: Jamie Harrison