Agent For Former Steelers LB James Harrison Says That His Client Is Open To Returning To Pittsburgh

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison is open to returning to the team that released him just before the new league year.

Harrison was reportedly in Baltimore for a scheduled visit with Baltimore Ravens on Sunday when the team reached an agreement with former Denver Broncos linebacker Elvis Dumervil. With Dumervil now in the fold, the Ravens likely have no interest in signing the Steelers former Defensive Player of the Year.

Schefter posted Monday on Twitter that Harrison\’s agent, Bill Parise, said he has not closed the door on his client returning to Pittsburgh, and that he would welcome a call from Steelers.

Now, none of this is surprising news, as Harrison has received very little interest from other teams outside of the Ravens. Peter King of Sports Illustrated even went as far as to say last Monday in his weekly column that the soon-to-be 35-year-old linebacker was “the coldest name of them all” at the annual owners meetings that took place recently in Arizona.

Harrison, who reportedly refused to take a 30 percent pay cut to his base salary in order to remain with the team, likely now wishes that he would have agreed to that offer, if indeed that report was true.

The Steelers seem to be ready to move on with former second-round draft pick Jason Worilds as their starter at right outside linebacker and Harrison might now just be a day late and a salary cap dollar short in his want to return.

The Steelers are roughly a little more than $2 million underneath the salary cap at this point and won\’t have additional cap space to work with until the beginning of June, when the release of guard Willie Colon becomes official and clears another $5.5 million in cap space.

Unless Harrison is willing to take a contract right now for near the league minimum, it is hard to envision the Steelers signing him back until well after the draft takes place next month. While Parise naturally says that his client is open to returning, we have yet to see the Steelers reciprocate. Will they at some point? It\’s hard to say.

  • redneckmuslim

    I just don’t know how you bring him back even if the money is right. If we are serious about knowing what Worilds can do for the future, this is the only season to do that.

  • Richard Edlin

    It’s definitely got to be a qualifying contract – he can’t get the same terms as he turned down because of the dead money he cost the team when they cut him AND because anything else would be overpaying given how few options he’s got.

    Even at a minimum contract, they need to figure in the PR costs and the succession plans; he’s not necessarily a starter if he returns.

  • Kusko_Ken

    haha…of course he is and i’m guessing he may be willing to take half of their original offer…wonder if he’d play special teams?

  • Brendon Glad

    This is the exact reason why communicating with your players and showing them respect is the best way to do business. Rather than just cutting Harrison cold, the Steelers showed him much love and the split was amicable. No reason to burn bridges with players who have proven themselves. I LOVE that the Steelers handle their business in that way. It’s saved us twice with Starks…paid dividends with Foote…may pay dividends with Burress. And you never know, we may really need JH back before the dust settles.

  • NW86

    I just can’t see Harrison playing for league minimum. He’s getting old, but he’s still better than that, especially since he’s much healthier now than he was last offseason. I’m sure he still thinks some team out there will want him after the draft, and if no one comes calling then, my guess is he either retires or still holds out to see if a team loses an OLB in the preseason and comes calling on him.

  • Dan

    Agreed, but we certainly are seeing this year in FA that age dimishes value. The list of still available free agents is full of older players. I’d certainly allocate $2-3 mil of our cap to a Harrison with something to prove, but I guess it is time for us to move on.

  • Bob Francis

    Agreed. I think it’s time to give the Worilds experiment a full chance. Keep Deebo’s # on file in case of injury.

  • Garrett Hunt

    I can see him retiring from all this mess. Guess it just comes down to what is more important to him, his pride or football.

  • Superdriller316

    It’s very clear the Steelers know what the value of their players are. James is our bad ass and we would have kept him. He was offered a better deal than he was going to get on the market. He didn’t want it, thinking he could do better. Guess what? Nobody wants you. Now your looking for the Steelers to call you. That ships sailed already. When Tomlin says, we’re going into 13 without James Harrison, you ain’t coming back. I’ve read people say, that all James wanted to do was honor his contract. Well to do that you need to play 16+ games a year. I love what James can do when healthy on the field, he’s one of the best. You don’t win when playing chicken with the Steelers. By not taking the deal, you sealed your fate with the Steelers. Don’t look towards James being back.

  • 1.75 Million on a one year situational down LB and retire as a Steeler…Let’s do it. It is time for the Youth (Worilds, Carter ect.) to show what they have though. They had interest in bringing him back in some capacity for 2013 so might as well do it now.

  • Sign him. Injuries happen and it would be nice to have someone with his experience in our system around.

  • Maybe. Maybe Not…You make some very valid points though.

  • LouPGH

    Depth. Worilds hasn’t exactly been an iron man.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Amen. Well said Brendon.

  • rob.pghsteelersfan

    Personally I wouldn’t take him back. He had the opportunity to stay and didn’t take it and now that no one else wants him he’s crawling back. Besides that the defense is too old there is and has been too many other players kept past their prime. I’m also pretty sure that Tomlin would be tempted to put him in even if Worlids wasn’t injured.

    It is Jason Worlids time to prove what he can do. The Harrison era is over. Looking for depth? A cheap FA or a rookie can handle that job.

  • redneckmuslim

    True. Signing James to be a backup or to play on a rotation is the only thing that makes sense for us if we want to move forward. I was just assuming that James wouldn’t accept that. It would be weird in the locker room…

  • zipposteelers

    Harrison started late in football years, He is a workout warrior and has a battle tested drive. sign him and let him unleash on Flacco and dalton one more year.

  • And he is probably a little bit more angry now too. I agree with you and as a situational LB for the mini-contract, I definitely like..if it does not work out, he retires a Steeler as he should.

  • Rubem Dornas

    Parise thing you’re an idiot!

  • Brendon Glad

    You are absolutely right. If they would have handled it the Tom Donahoe way, they would have just cut him with no conversation, and he would have made it his personal mission to haunt them. Whether he did or not, that would be his goal. I hated how they handled Rod Woodson. They don’t do that anymore, and I much prefer it that way.
    Now, like you said, if he eventually comes back, he will be much more angry at the rest of the league for what has happened in the last 3 weeks, then he will be at the Steelers. And an angry James Harrison is a good James Harrison, when he is on your team.

  • Brendon Glad

    And i know Rod was a UFA, so it was more like a Burress situation then a JH situation, but they never even spoke to Woodson (at least that was his story while it was going on).

  • SteelerDave

    Time for a new agent James. He has mislead your ego.

  • SteelSpine

    I never heard anyone say the door was closed regarding him. So because he hasn’t signed for another team, assume still open. And no surprise someone who has no job is open to getting one.

    This training camp when Worilds gets injured or Lamar gets injured -which moves Worilds to left side (I don’t mean to jinx them), if Harrison is not on a team yet at that time watch how fast Colbert erases that financial gap: Steelers will have Harrison at the Steelers within several days of any significant injury to Worilds or Woodley.

  • Chris92021

    Who knew? There is no market for a 35 year old OLB with knee and back problems. Unfortunately I have little faith in Woodley and Worilds so I would definitely welcome Harrison back for one more year as a 3rd down rusher.

  • JPDQ

    Yup, exactly. And you know it’s gonna happen.

  • charles

    I hear he has been practising his long snaps. The Steelers would be crazy not to offer at least the minimum. James was our best qb pressure last year and until someone else steps up… Also if the knee surgery had happened earlier who knows what kind of numbers he would have had. He was only healthy for 8 games.

  • LucasY59

    all agents mislead players, they always ask for way too much. beacuse then they get more $ (leeches as far as im concerned)

  • Shannon Stephenson

    He should have been open to a contract reduction

  • JPDQ

    I think we should do everything possible to get Harrison back. This guy was arguably the best defender we had during the second half of the season and definitely our biggest play-making threat. He might be 35, but a lot of his early years were spent getting cut year after year. What I saw towards the end of last year was good enough for me, considering our options. And the guy plays through major injury, which is more than I can say for Woodshed on the other side.

    To me, it seems like we’re in the perfect situation to bring one of our leaders back on our terms. Not like Porter or Woodson, who left and got the big money, and we ended up regretting it because they still had some good football left. This way, we gave James a chance to test the waters, and they were icy. So, now he comes back for even less than we were initially offering and we’re all the better for it. I don’t care if he starts, if he’s depth, or if he just sits there and scowls at people from the bench. Bring back Silverback!

  • RMSteeler

    I think the door’s closed until at least June, barring an off season injury. Team has already spent the money he was offered. I’ll bet if he fired Parise, and negotiated himself, he’d get teams at least to talk. Have a hunch there will be another cut or two before training camp. James time is best spent now working on conditioning and health while waiting for a call. And fire the parasite Parise.

  • LouPGH

    I agree that he’d have to accept a rotation, which is why I’d be mildly surprised if he ends up back on the roster.

    That said, he’s probably as healthy has he’s been in a few seasons. I wish he’d come out and say he wants to be a Steeler, and he’ll do whatever he can to help the team win (i.e., play for the league minimum and rotate with Worilds). That’s a pipe dream though.

  • walter mason

    Bring back Silverback!! If I were the rest of the league, I would shiver at the thought of playing against James Harrison. I think hes healthy, angry and ready to kick ass.

  • mokhkw

    If you believe what Jerry Dulac writes….the Steelers plan to move forward without Harrison, regardless of what happens to him in FA & they don’t plan to resign Starks or Hampton.

  • Idk whats going to happen, i kind of wish we can get this FA resignings under control. Imho the last memorable signing we had was jerome bettis. We need to quit resigning rehashed players. One maybe 2 is ok i guess, but not as much as we have been doing the last few seasons. We need to get some playmakers, we let lewis go, no biggy, then we didnt even make an attempt on dummervile. So i m kind of scratching my head on what pitts goals are. I would really like a FA, draft period in which we pick a player that makes a statement in the nfl.

  • Yes and I think Woodson left for a 1 million dollar difference.

  • zyzak

    Steelers have no reason to bring him back

  • zipposteelers

    I remember woodson took less to go to the 49ers, He had a terrible season and was holding guys to stop them.out of there in a year.
    He said in an interview he was happy to be going to a team that didn’t count on him to win every game..he was a jackass and he was calling out bettis when he was with the ravens..F woodson