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Report: “Mutual Attraction” Between James Harrison And Steelers


Free agent linebacker James Harrison still wants to play following his release last week from the Cincinnati Bengals and one Pittsburgh Steelers beat writer thinks it’s “quite possible” he returns to the Steel City.

According to a Wednesday morning blog post by Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, there is a “mutual attraction” between Harrison and the Steelers, who released the former undrafted free agent last offseason after failing to work out a pay reduction with him.

Should he ultimately return to the Steelers, Bouchette speculates that Harrison would play a part-time role behind Jarvis Jones, who the Steelers drafted in the first round last year. On a Monday edition of NFL Total Access, Harrison hinted he’ like to return to his former team.

Being as the Steelers only other outside linebacker on the roster that has experience outside of Jones and Jason Worilds is Chris Carter, you can certainly see the depth issues the team faces. However, Harrison will be 36 in May and his best days are long behind him.

The Steelers look like they are interested in adding an outside linebacker during free agency as they reportedly had their eyes on Green Bay Packers free agent Mike Neal prior to him re-signing last week. When you look at the other unsigned free agents that would figure to fit the Steelers defensive scheme, you can see why Bouchette thinks a Harrison-Steelers reunion “will happen.”

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Berlusconi

    Yes, let him retire as member of the Pittsburgh Steelers!

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I think the vast majority of us would agree, bring him back!

  • sean mcmartin

    Bring him back to camp let’s see if he has anything left. he can still be a good run stuffer and has the attitude that many of the young guys do not.

  • Spencer Krick

    We could use both the depth and the veteran presence. Just don’t break the bank on him.

  • Virdin Barzey

    There’s no more bank to break after Woodley…..Glad to have Harrison back.

  • steelster

    please don’t bring him back.

  • Jason

    I don’t see him being given a lot of oppurtunities on run downs. More like a situational pass rusher.

  • sean mcmartin

    that might be true. They should have signed him yesterday.
    The guy is a mauler and plays angry, He is worth bringing back for camp. he has no learning curve and can jump right into the mix.

  • RW

    I’m with you. Time to move forward – this is subtraction by addition.

  • CrazyTerry

    Please bring him back. We are paying Troy a lot of money even if he is past his prime. Why not a measly 1.5M or so on Harrison? Let Jarvis play STs. Harrison can spell him on regular downs.If you spell Harrison, I think he can bring enough on part time duty. He is still strong. He just doesn’t have it anymore to be an every week player full time.

  • Steelmill 74

    Please resign this MAN. He can play some on the field and have a tremendous presence in the locker room. He should retire a Steeler. He made the best defensive play in super bowl history while in a Steeler uniform that earns him a spot as long as the price is right.

  • 804Stiller

    As long as this doesn’t hinder the development of Jones, I don’t mind. We could surely use the depth and if Jones needs to bulk up, who better to work out with? My only fear is if this gets in the way of Jones’ growth. It’s like, “Would McClendon develop with Snacks around. Would Cam be beasting if Aaron Smith was still around?” As long as he is clear with his role and willing to except minimal pay, it works. Otherwise, who do we have when one of the starters goes down? You can bet they won’t both play 100% of a season.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    As a starter…no. As depth…yes, bring him back. I would love for him to mentor Jones along with the recently brought back Porter. I love the idea.

  • Dwayne Ferguson

    I hope this happens.

  • William Bigelow

    I’m not against this move as long as its for the vet minimum. It would provide some much needed depth @ OLB ….

  • http://www.nyob.com/ Dr. Doom

    doesn’t cost much for a peek for training camp

  • Matt Manzo

    What made the most sense to me was when Ed said….last year we wanted him for 3 million, this year we could get him for 900k! Seems like a nobrainer?

  • PA2AK

    only question is will he take the vet min…

  • PA2AK

    curious as to why you think it is a bad move…

  • sean mcmartin

    It would be worth it to give him incentives in the contract and put it on him to perform and earn more than minimum. At the very least bring him to camp and let jarvis jones see how a pro trains and adds muscle mass in the weightroom. maybe learn a technique off of him and porter.

  • Paddy

    I think he should come back but it shows me just how dire the OLB position is

  • PA2AK

    no problem with that. just no need for much guaranteed. i see this move (depending on the $) as a very low risk, moderate reward. there’s no way he is brought in as a starter and that, in my mind, is discussion from day one with him.

  • PA2AK

    you worried about him taking snaps away from Carter?

  • RW

    Funny. I’m worried about him delaying the drafting (and eventual progression) of multiple OLBs at the back end of this year’s draft. Plus he wouldn’t be worth the qualifying contract we’d be signing him for. A backup OLB on this team is required to play special teams by definition. Why waste money on bringing him back. Loved him as a player, but he’s useless as a backup.

  • PA2AK

    Well we really don’t have much when it comes to OLB’s..even if we draft another this year (hopefully). If they bring him in for camp but find that’s the case, he’s cut. I think he does bring great value in a mentor and immediate ability to play a supporting role.

  • RW

    We don’t have much depth on the D-line, either. Doesn’t mean I want to bring Casey Hampton back. Do you see my point? At 36 he’s incredibly old for a linebacker. Of course I think he’s better than Carter, but Carter can play special teams for much less money.

  • sean mcmartin

    you never know..He could come out with something to prove and surprise us. I was pissed when the vikings were pushing the defensive players around after the plays last season, That kind of crap would be harder to get away with. He brings a high level of intensity and the younger guys might step up and emulate his passion for the game..Its a win for both sides.He has said publicly he wants to be part of the team. he knows that means less cash, And if he is still good enough to start and better than what we have ..why not pay him.who knows if jarvis jones will bulk up enough to be a playmaker or if it will slow him down being bulked up. or worilds wrist will suddenly get hurt after he signs a contract.
    no guaranteed cash or very little, but incentives to prove himself in camp.He also started later in age and He takes care of his body .bring a couple veterans in to compete in camp..can’t hurt an 8-8 team.

  • steelster

    For the exact same reasons RW has stated. Nice to see that someone else gets it.

  • steeltown

    I would normally say no due to his age, but not only do we have nothing behind Worilds and Jones but Harrison could then also finish his career in Pittsburgh

  • Fu-Schnickens

    I believe you’re looking at this the wrong way. Who exactly is there on the razor-thin line backing corp that’s going to mentor a new draftee with even a fraction of the experience and success of Harrison? Add to that his ability to play situationally (albeit sparingly) and you let the guy retire with dignity as a Steeler. All positives for a small amount of cash – this heavily favors the team.

  • RW

    If you’re looking for a mentor, look no further than the newly acquired Joey Porter. Doesn’t take up a roster spot, either. Also, they can sign Harrison to a 1 day deal and let him retire a steeler. No big deal.

  • steelster

    exactly Rw, Harrison should retire. Also, what if Harrison gets into training camp and gets cut. A very sad way for him to go out.

  • Jay

    I see the point of him being a backup and not playing ST but he will not just be a backup he will be rotated in with the starters to give them blows and breaks like they did with Woodley last year. So he will play, plus guys remember he’s not your typical 36 year old he didn’t start until his late twenties so there is still some life left in him! I say give him minimum money and one more year!

  • TsarPepe

    I was thinking the same thing. The FO should package the deal in these terms: James, don’t look at the fact that we’re giving you the minimum; look at it as an opportunity to retire a Steeler (which you always have been).

  • Jeff

    yes yes yes YES YES YES

  • CrazyTerry

    There is no rule but a self imposed one that a backup LB has to play STs. Starters play STs on other teams. No reason for Jarvis not to continue in that role.

  • walter mason

    lol

  • walter mason

    YES< YES YES YES YESSSSSSSSS

  • walter mason

    Harrison can play ST.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Good point if Harrison is brought back I could see it benefitting Jarvis in a big way and who knows we might get a C Carter sighting this year

  • PA2AK

    I think the comparison to hampton is just a sliiiiight stretch

  • PA2AK

    IF he doesn’t play any ST…that’s a minus…but won’t be the first in Steelers history by a long shot. He almost can’t inhibit growth of the young guys…because there are so few that they will get enough practice reps. I can’t logically compare bringing Harrison back to bringing Hampton back right now. I’m fine with you having a different opinion and finding someone that agrees with it…I just don’t think those reasons pass the test. it is very very low risk, with moderate reward. IF he’s brought in at a very low cost…it’s hard to pin the possibility (and it’s possible that he does) of him not playing ST and the idea that it would inhibit growth as the overriding factors here. If they brought him in to start…I could see your point…but they’d be insane to do that.

  • steelster

    The steelers defense is transitioning to a major youth movement. How does Harrison help the steelers for 2015, he doesn’t . Time to move on with a young player that has potential.

  • PA2AK

    And here are my reasons why it would be a good move.
    -1st we need to establish that he will be a backup and come in for a very modest contract. (That’s the only way anyone in the Steelers FO should consider an offer…if not, I change my opinion immediately)
    -2nd Mentor – he is another hard-nosed great that can teach the young guys…except he wears pads and shows them directly how to do it. He also shows them how to prepare for work and take care of his body. learning from Porter will help, but learning from James certainly adds to it.
    -Depth – Say we draft an OLB (hopefully), we then have Worilds, JJ, Carter, Rookie…and…? One of those for WILL be hurt at some point. We need more than that and a veteran would be nice.
    -Learning Curve – there is none.
    -ST – he may be asked to play ST…and he may relish in the ability to go hunt some people down…he is Deebo after all. If he doesnt, won’t be the first…we kept f’n Redman around and he never did either.
    -Cost – he will be cheap. he knows it.
    -Risk of development – we are risking the fact that he will hurt development of others more than help (I think its crazy to assume he hurts more than helps). How the heck does he hurt anyones development anyways?!
    -Injury risk – he played 400 snaps last year…that’s likely more than he will see in Pittsburgh unless something happens to the starters. minimal risk here. if hurt…cut him and put in the superstar that he was taking snaps away from.
    -Wheels fell off risk – if the wheels fell off…you’ll know by the end of camp because he can be cut without issue.
    -Locker room cancer – please GTFO of here with that idea too. He’s homies with everyone there and the rest respect him. James doesn’t like the media…fellow players love James.

  • PA2AK

    Carter?

  • srdan

    For the vet minimum, you get the best special teams player on the team, and he provides you depth where its needed.

    This is a no brainer. Bring him back for the minimum. 200 snaps on defense this year and special teams all day long.

    I can’t find a reason not to have him on the team unless the first two round picks are at OLB. If they are not, anyone else will have to sit and learn, no game action. Who better to learn from on how to take care of your body and be a professional and how to be a Steeler?

  • PA2AK

    notice…the retiring a steeler deal doesn’t matter to me. he is and always will be known as a steeler regardless of his last gig. if he can help fill some holes cheaply this year so the steelers don’t get in a bind $-wise going forward..it’s simple to me.

  • Johnny Loose

    Just sign him already. I’d be willing to bet he’d have no problem playing special teams, the guy jumped in as our long-snapper. If we don’t bring him to camp that’s just ridiculous.

  • Jeff

    Considering we sign James to a vet minimum deal, I really don’t see even one significant downside to this…..

    -There’s mutual interest
    -He would instantly become the backup OLB on both sides, and adds depth
    -He already knows the playbook
    -He can really help the development of one Jarvis Jones, not only with how to play the position, but also with bulking up and taking care of himself
    -Yes, he’s old, but he’s also HEALTHY, and the steelers won’t require him to take the abuse he once did

    I dunno… I’m runnin’ outta gas here but I would definitely like the move. It’s low risk and adds depth to a position where we have NO ONE capable of starting if Worilds or Jarvis go down. The whole “oh no, he won’t be able to play special teams” thing is a little absurd.

  • Matt Manzo

    This is getting silly! I loved the Mitchell signing and the Thomas signing!
    Now were in idle and our depth is getting worse. Sign Harrison and Cotch right now, then all we need is a RB!

  • Jeff

    Math is confusing for some ;)

  • steelster

    He hurts the development of young players and yes I don’t think carter is the answer. Harrison looked bad as a Bengal. They cut him for a reason.

  • steelster

    a starting DE should be first priority.

  • joed32

    Who is the player with potential? They need 4 OLBs, yes they’ll draft one but he won’t play much if at all. If he was taking a younger player’s spot I would be against it, but he’s taking an empty spot.

  • steelster

    Dontay Moch for one and many in the draft.

  • Matt Manzo

    You’re right! I meant add Carrington to that list!

  • John A Stewart

    Last year when the Bengal’s came to town and Harrison left the game with a concussion I knew in his heart he didn’t want to leave the Steelers.And I still wear my Harrison Steeler jersey he gave us that attitude we sorely miss.

  • Rob Dove

    Harrison brings something with him that he gives to the other team. No one else on our defense does that. He brings FEAR. AS a rotational player he brings a lot. If he has to step in for someone he is still better than what our current starters produced last season. He may be the player that ages well in so far as the game goes.

  • PA2AK

    He can also help their development. I don’t see it as an absolute in either way unless the coaches screw up the rotation.

    He looked bad for the most part because he was in the wrong position in the wrong defense and they originally looked for him to start. It’s an entirely different situation in Pittsburgh. They also only need to fill 3 LB spots on their team and have their starters.

  • steelster

    Eugene Monroe and Joe Thomas aren’t afraid of Harrison.

  • joed32

    The Bengals claimed Dontay Moch off waivers Friday and he returned to Cincinnati on a one-year deal.

  • PA2AK

    lol…that’s it…he’s not worth it! he’s a back-up…not a starter. JJ has yet to make a sole scared…let alone some solid tackles like Monroe and Thomas.

  • stairman

    competition, JJ and worldis will feel Harrisons pressure after he gets a few sacks, and they see how he works. He will bring out the best in the younger LB’s so they wont get benched. Jame is still a animal!

  • stairman

    He would be a great back up, he couldnt make it as a starter, with injuries. But I bet snap 4 snap against both JJ and Worldis, James will generate more pressure and sacks. Put the best player out there to win. Its simple. JH is a difference maker.

  • RW

    Right now, bringing him back on the vet minimum would cost us about half of the cap space we have. It might be cheap for a player of his caliber, but it isn’t cheap by any means for the Steelers.

  • shawn

    Are u Serious ? While although i guess he could provide some competent depth … do we really want to go BACKWARDS … and that is what message we would be sending if we signed him.

  • steelster

    yes shawn thankyou. We are in the minority here the only other person that agrees with our viewpoint is RW

  • shawn

    i liked harrison as much as the net guy …. but time for new faces in pittsburgh .. we need fresh young faces in order to get a NEW IDENTITY … we are not getting that SWAGGER back with retreads !!!

  • Jake Marion

    Of course! … as backup long-snapper.

  • JAMESH

    Studies show that 7 out of 5 people have trouble with fractions.

  • JAMESH

    And the simple truth is Harrison is currently better at the position than Jarvis.

  • hp b

    Moreno would be a lot to hope for, but..

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Imagine what would happen if we did brink him back and his weight room and on the field traits rubbed off on the new kids, i think he would provide a year or two(at most) of quality depth while he could also act as a mentor to everyone, i’m not saying start him opposite of Worilds but have him spell some of Jones’ reps to where Jones is still playing the majority of snaps. I would say if we signed him it would give off a more positive message than negative

  • tim

    I dont think you lose any “swagger” by bringing Harrison back…if ANYTHING he’ll bring it in 4 suitcases!

  • tim

    ” THIS……is the question…!”

  • John A Stewart

    Because they get help double teaming him.

  • tim

    Im on the fence with bringing him back but USELESS? He’s better than Carter if Chris had a frickin jet pack on..!

  • shawn

    that was yesteryear my friend !

  • shawn

    i agree he’s a positive in the locker room and on the sidelines … just prefer to get the development under way sooner with the young talent that we pick up !

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Hm i would think he might become a catalyst for our young talent though, it can go both ways. Like making a bet It can have its pros and cons

  • shawn

    you definitely make valid points … and u are right it could be a positive … i just choose to move on … lets get out of the past !

  • Kevin Gobleck

    And i can respect that decision, it’s nice to have a civilized argument once in awhile lol

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