Steelers Release LB James Harrison

The Pittsburgh Steelers have released veteran linebacker James Harrison on Saturday.

Harrison, who had two years left on his contract, was scheduled to make $6.57 million in 2013 and $7.575 million in 2014. His release will clear $5.105 million in cap prior to displacement in the top 51 salaries on the team.

Harrison was originally signed by the Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2002 out of Kent State. He was released prior to the start of that season and signed to practice squad, where he stayed until he was promoted to the 53 man roster at the end of the season.

In 2003 Harrison made the Steelers final roster out of training camp but was released two days later and signed to practice before being released in October. Late in 2003 Harrison was signed by the Baltimore Ravens and was sent to play in NFL Europe for the Rhein Fire. He was eventually cut by the Ravens and signed once again with the Steelers during training camp in 2004 after linebacker Clark Haggans sustained an injury in an off-season weightlifting accident. This time Harrison stuck for good after he making the final 53 man roster.

Harrison had to wait until 2007 to become the full-time starter at right outside linebacker when he replaced Joey Porter, who was released during the off-season. He recorded 8.5 sacks that season, intercepted 1 pass and forced 7 fumbles. That performance resulted in his first of five selections to the Pro Bowl.

In 2008 Harrison was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year after registering 16 regular season sacks, 1 interception and 7 more forced fumbles. In Super Bowl XLIII, Harrison intercepted a pass from Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner at the Steelers goal-line and ran it back for a 100-yard touchdown at the end of the first half. It was a defining moment in the game and a highlight that will forever be etched in the minds of Steelers fans.

In April of 2009 Harrison signed a 6-year, $51.75 million contract extension with the Steelers. He recorded 10 sacks during that season to go along with 5 more forced fumbles and 79 total tackles. It resulted in his third straight Pro Bowl selection.

In 2010 Harrison was flagged and fined several times during the regular season for hits that were deemed illegal in the games against the Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints and Buffalo Bills. He still managed to register 100 total tackles, 10.5 sacks, 2 interceptions and 6 forced fumbles. The season, however, culminated with the Steelers losing to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV.

In 2011 Harrison missed four regular season games due to a fractured orbital bone that he suffered in the Week 4 game against the Houston Texans. He also was suspended for the Week 15 game against the San Francisco 49ers for his illegal hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy the week prior. Despite the time missed, Harrison still finished the season with 9 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 59 total tackles.

In 2012 Harrison started off training camp on the PUP list because of problems with one his knees that resulted in him needing a minor surgical procedure done. He missed the first 3 regular season games as a result of the procedure and recorded just 1 sack in his first 6 games once he returned to the lineup. In his final 7 games, however, Harrison registered 5 more sacks and 2 forced fumbles. He ended the season with 70 total tackles, 6 sacks, and the 2 forced fumbles.

During his career with the Steelers Harrison recorded 64 sacks, 617 combined tackles, 5 interceptions, and 29 forced fumbles during the regular season in 131 games, of which he started 95 of them. In 8 post-season games he recorded 6 sacks and 1 interception.

Harrison will always be remembered as one of the great linebackers that played in Pittsburgh.

  • lefnor

    Thank you everything, Deebo. You are the best!

  • WilliamSekinger

    I hope he has a successful last few years in the NFL. I just hope it’s not within our division. Thanks for the memories Silverback!

  • zyzak

    Now they can go get Kruger

  • Brian Tollini

    We all knew it was only a matter of time. He was a hell of a player for a few years. Best of luck in the future. Jason Worilds, it’s time to sell some jerseys!

  • Clint Martin

    What? Where do you come up with this stuff?

  • Clint Martin

    He is going to be a Brownie and Ben will know it.

  • how much we are under the cap now ?

  • zyzak

    6 mil at least

  • rizzo29

    Pat,s are already on the phone with him

  • gsherin

    Hate it, but had to happen. What happened with possibly restructuring Woodley, did that ever happen to save $? I know it did with Ben and Timmons.

  • SteelSpine

    Yes to all that. If he goes to within our division then the only chance our left OTs have against him is if Harrison is too injured to play, Harrison might not have enough back & neck left by that time to play. If he does play against us he would school Adams, that’s not a matchup I would want to watch.

  • SteelSpine

    He’s a huge injury risk for any team to take. Some teams have big cap space to spend though. I salute him for he gave his body to the NFL, like Polomalu did. Harrison’s runback in SuperBowl was 1 of the top 5 all-time greatest plays in SB history.

    IMO Steelers have 3 of the top 5 plays in SB history: Harrison’s run, Holmes’ catch, & Swan’s catch. 3 in top 5 being by one organization, is amazing.

  • Jollyrob68

    Wish you the best Debo. Thanks for being a wonderful Steeler

  • Tom

    A sad day for sure. Might as well cut Troy too, since he has troubles staying on the field. 10 million for a safety is too much, no less one that is injured so much.

  • Cody Younkin

    Im excited to see what worilds and Robinson can do this year! Still gotta release Hampton which isnt gonna be easy.

  • rizzo29

    One of my favorite steelers. with lloyd and kirkland

  • NW86


  • westernsteel

    Figured this would happen, but it is still a sad day. He was such a feared linebacker for a few years. We have some great James Harrison memories. I still can’t believe he ran back an interception 100 yards! Time for Worilds….I am excited to see him play a full season, the Steelers gotta know what he can do before his contract is up. Its tough to have a second round pick play special teams.

  • NW86

    Not yet. I think the fact that they are waiting sends woodley a message. There is no rush to do that as they are under the cap for now, including the RFA tenders. It still will have to happen eventually in order for them to sign a couple free agents and the draft class.

  • NW86

    Which happens to be enough to tender their RFAs in 2 days.

  • Chris S

    Hampton is a FA…so they do not have to release him.

  • HarryBackside

    We all saw this coming, but that doesn’t make the reality any easier. Looks like it’s time for the Jason Worilds era to begin.

  • JohnnyV1

    Goodbye Mr Harrison, you were one tough hombre! You lived up well to the Steelers linebacker lineage! Jack Lambert, Greg Lloyd, Joey Porter and James Harrison. All had one thing in common, a fierce attitude and brought it every game.

  • TsarPepe

    Welcome to Pittsburgh, Jarvis Jones!

  • GunsDontKillWoodleyKills

    Another moronic post. This isn’t Madden13.

  • Mikey Hoje

    Seaon starts September, so Silverback might and could be back due to 100 different reasons & scenarios. Stay the fugg-tuned, boys and girls.

  • GunsDontKillWoodleyKills

    Hes in a fantasy world called Madden13.

  • Guest

    Is anyone laughing at my post below besides myself? —–vvvvvvv, do you see it?

  • grw1960

    Close, $ 5,896,000

  • John Hinton

    I couldn’t have said it better! He is one of top Steelers of all time.

  • mghjr88

    I realize that this move probably needed to happen, but… damn. I just can’t get over the idea of Harrison possibly terrorizing offenses for someone other than the Steelers. His play was the epitome of Steelers football.

  • TsarPepe

    If I’m the Steelers, the only way I release Harrison is if I have Lewis’s new contract ready to be signed in my other pocket. This is, after all, what all these savings are for. But now they are facing the prospect of cutting Harrison, then losing Lewis to FA. I guess that’s what’s called being left to hold the (empty) bag.

  • sean mcmartin

    This feels like it did when Woodson left. He’s not done. He didn’t start until he was older. he is a beast in the weightroom. No doubt he will play against the Steelers and destroy ben

  • It took Harrison 5 years in the League to become a starter. Maybe some people will get off Worilds and Carters back now. It just takes a while sometimes…James, Thanks so much for the memories and we wish you well.

  • John A Stewart


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