JAMES HARRISON, a Super Bowl winner with the Steelers, now wears a New England Patriots uniform. (AP PHOTO)

It was the eve before the year 2017 was to begin. Around 1:30 p.m., myself and Courier photographer Thomas Sabol pulled into the Akron, Ohio driveway of Mrs. Mildred Harrison, the mother of former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, James Harrison. Unless you are a non-NFL fan or just maybe exiting from a sports hiatus, you probably know by now that Harrison currently sports the colors of the New England Patriots.

Johnnie Harrison, the older brother of James Harrison, greeted us with a firm handshake and a bright welcoming smile.

“Come on in and make yourself comfortable,” he said, as we made our way into the house. Mildred Harrison, mother of James Harrison, and I had become acquainted during the tenure of James with the Steelers and we exchanged our customary greeting hug.

COURIER SPORTS COLUMNIST AUBREY BRUCE, right, with members of the Harrison family, including James Harrison’s mother, Mildred, third from right.

“I’m glad you guys could make it,” she said, as Johnnie took our coats and we took a seat at the dining room table.

The first thing that we discussed was not the Pittsburgh Steelers nor linebacker James Henry Harrison Jr., but at that time, the recent passing of his father, James Henry Harrison Sr., who had passed in May 2016 from lung cancer. He was 76.

“I really miss my husband,” she said.

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