Arnold is a DGD!!! I am very proud of him due to his work ethic and because he is from the same neck of the woods as I am. Way to represent the Augusta area and the CSRA!
Arnold Harrison entered Georgia in the summer of 2000, a signee with the right stuff but not one of the incoming freshman who showed up with a headline saturated resume. He played hard, he played with toughness and when the grades were posted after Saturday games, he often was the one who had done his job well.
Nobody projected him for high honors like All-SEC or All-America, but if you had asked the coaches about his performance, you would have heard savvy reports. Arnold arrived in Athens underscoring team concepts, and when he had left, that had become his hallmark.
Something else, he left with both a championship ring and a diploma. All to often players leave with the former but not the latter. If there is enough talent and the team has leadership ingredients and a winning attitude, the former is not such a surprising development, but when it comes to a degree, it becomes an individual matter. Arnold took the attitude that with a scholarship all he had to do was underscore the work ethic and his chances of contributing to his team would be a given. For the degree, he had to apply due-diligence away from the practice field. Early on, he laid out a plan, kept in close touch with his advisors and stayed the course.
Having been redshirted his first year, he took advantage to enhance degree requirements. His course of study? Economics which required more effort on his part than a lot of majors which would have made life easier for him. Finding the easy route wasn’t what Arnold wanted. He expected more of himself. He knew that football would end one day. When that came about, he would be prepared.
Arnold was no different from any of his other teammates. He wanted to play football as long as possible which meant that he wanted to experience the next level. After finishing at Georgia, he signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That wasn’t big news in Pittsburgh, but it was at home. He believed he could compete in the NFL and went to training camp in the summer of 2005 with high expectations. He had an unspoken message for the Steelers, too. He wanted them to realize that he had something special inside. That would come about, but not initially. Late in training camp, he got to message to see Coach Bill Cowher. “Bring your playbook,” he was advised which is confirmation with all NFL players that it is over. You get the blindsiding news that you are through. You don’t figure in the team’s plans.
Arnold was devastated. Inside, he knew he was good enough. He also knew that he had approached Steeler workouts tentatively. “I spent too much time worrying about NOT making the team,” he says. “In my heart I knew I was good enough, but I didn’t approach things the right way. I immediately began thinking about a second chance. They learned that I was a team player, that I was a second effort type of guy and I was happy to play anywhere to make the team.” With a second chance, he made good on his objective.
Often, rookies in the NFL make the team if they concentrate on special teams play. If you have the right ingredients and go all out in special teams competition, there is often a roster opportunity. That is why Arnold Harrison has two Super Bowl rings today. After he was cut by the coaching staff in training camp, Arnold was invited to join the practice squad. All the discipline, duediligence and commitment which made him a four year letterman with an SEC championship ring at Georgia in 2002 characterized his practice squad work for the Steelers in 2005.
Late in the season, he was activated for the roster for the playoffs which meant that his has never had more propitious timing. The Steelers made it to the Super Bowl XL and defeated the Seahawks 21-0. Arnold had a ring.
That serendipitous moment would be repeated three years later when the Steelers made it back to Super Bowl XLIII, this time defeating the Arizona Cardinals 27-23. When his career ended, Arnold had played six years in the National Football League. He became vested in the league’s retirement program. He got more than a “cup of coffee” out of his NFL experience. There were big games in the city known for its three rivers, hearty spirit and an undying commitment to their beloved Steeler football team.
A lot of players enjoyed the experience that Arnold had in the NFL. They sign up with a team which finds a way to win a Super Bowl and they become the toast of the town. They enjoy a nice career (six years is about average for most players), but it is usually a brief one. The money is good but, unless you are a big time quarterback and play a dozen years or more, you are not headed to easy street. All too many players at this juncture don’t have anything to fall back on. Arnold did. With that economics degree, Arnold had something of value when he entered the marketplace. It didn’t hurt that he had played at Georgia and had those Super Bowl rings when he went job hunting, but how many football players show up at the company store with an economics degree?
Today, you will find Arnold gainfully employed as the financial manager of Nalley Lexus in Roswell. He is applying the same work ethic and good habits that got him through Georgia with a degree and a championship ring and opened the door for six years in the NFL. He foresees a successful business career, knowing he can look back on his college and NFL careers with a sense of accomplishment and great affection. More importantly, he knows he is positioned to enjoy life after football with an opportunity to enjoy success in business.
Whenever possible, Arnold finds his way back to Athens for games. “I try to make every one I can,” he says. “Athens and Georgia and those hedges mean a lot to me. I enjoy taking my wife Tiana, who is also a Georgia graduate, and my little girl Audrey to games with me. We are all great Bulldog fans.” Happy and secure at this point in his life, Arnold Harrison got to where he is today by finishing the drill. He will serve as honorary captain for the Appalachian State game