Former Pittsburgh Steelers James Harrison Wants To Return
December 2, 2012;Baltimore, MD, USA;Baltimore Ravens running back Bernard Pierce (30) runs with the ball while being chased by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
While in a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform, he was one of the most feared linebackers since Greg Lloyd or even Jack Lambert. He had that mean streak in him that punished quarterbacks and made ball carriers squirm. Eventually, as with all good things, the time came to an end for James Harrison and the Steelers. But, now it appears that Harrison wants to come back.
The Steelers and Harrison entered a tense round of negotiations during last offseason. The Steelers wanted to offer Deebo less money in order to stay with the team due to the financial strain they were under. But, Harrison’s agent helped play hard ball asking for more money. The team was just too cash strapped, and were not about to overpay even though Harrison had given them some great years. Eventually, Harrison walked and signed with the Cincinnati Bengals on a short term deal. Harrison mainly took on a backup roll in Cincy, which may or may not have been the same case if he were to stay in Pittsburgh. On March 13th, the Bengals parted ways with Harrison.
Harrison and former teammate and Ike Taylor appeared on NFL Total Access on Monday. When asked where Harrison wanted to play next, Ike chimed in and said “Pittsburgh.” To which Harrison replied, “Everybody knows that.” The former 2008 Defensive Player of the Year said that he still wanted to play until the “wheels came off.” But would Pittsburgh take him back?
The Steelers are thin at the LB position after letting Larry Foote and LaMarr Woodley. They’ve committed to Jason Worilds by using the transition tag (which could turn into a long term deal before the season), and still have a young Jarvis Jones on the outside. Chris Carter is the lone backup at this time. Would Harrison be willing to pretty much take the league minimum to sit on the sidelines until he needed to spell Worilds or Jones? I think a starting role is out of the question as it will take time away from Jones who desperately needs all the real time experience he can get in order to get better.
At age 36, Harrison is certainly not as explosive off the ball as he was in 2008 and 2009. But, if the Steelers aren’t confident in getting a rookie LB in the draft that could serve as a backup as they are groomed, then the good ol’ Silver Back might be an option and might be their cheapest option.
Thoughts, Steeler Nation?