All throughout the offseason I speculated that if linebacker James Harrison wanted to remain a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers that he would have to take $3 million in 2013. As it turns out, that is exactly the amount that he stands to pocket with the Cincinnati Bengals this upcoming season if he plays in all 16 games for them.
Following the March release of the former Defensive Player of the Year, reports surfaced stating that the Steelers offered Harrison a 30 percent cut of his $6.57 million salary that he was scheduled to earn to remain in Pittsburgh. If indeed that was the case, Harrison left money on the table.
Now, Harrison must quickly adapt to new surroundings and a new defense, which he claims is similar to the one that he was accustomed to in Pittsburgh. We\’ll see. At 35 years of age, Harrison will be expected to play in all 16 games, and that is something that he hasn\’t done since the 2010 season.
Harrison said Monday during his conference call with media that he doesn\’t hate the Steelers. He did, however, state that he was disappointed. If he should be disappointed with anyone, it should be with himself and his agent for making a bad business decision and somewhat putting a black mark on his Steelers legacy.
This is not the first time around the block for Harrison\’s agent Bill Parise, who has dealt with the Steelers in the past, and just so happens to be a native of Butler, Pennsylvania. Parise knows how the Steelers operate.
It is indeed possible that Harrison went against Parise\’s advice and that in itself wouldn\’t be surprising to hear down the road. Most athletes think that are worth more than they actually are, especially later on in the careers.
While the Steelers fanbase will never forget all of the great memories that Harrison provided them, they also will not forget the bad business decision that he made that led to him ending his career with a hated divisional opponent. If he had been cut out-right without a fair opportunity to stay, much like his predecessor Joey Porter was, that would be one thing, but apparently it wasn\’t.
It will forever be etched in my memory that running back Franco Harris ended his career with the Seattle Seahawks after a nasty contract holdout in 1984 and seeing Harrison play next season in a Bengals uniform, when it could have been avoided, will also leave a scar.
Much like Harrison doesn\’t hate the Steelers, the fans shouldn\’t hate Harrison either. The only thing that they should hate is the business decision that he made.