James Harrison Says He Spends $350K A Year In Taking Care Of His Body


This is from Sunday but I have been wanting to get around to this interview. Because James Harrison doesn’t do many one-on-one sitdowns so it’s always cool to hear what he has to say.

Harrison sat down with NFL Network’s Andrea Kremer in an interview that aired Sunday morning, prior to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 30-12 win over the Miami Dolphins. They covered an array of topics, including how Harrison is able to play at such a high level at age 38.

He ran down the list of people he’s employed to take care of his body. And the list is lengthy. He included:

– Acupuncturist
– Dry Needling Specialist
– Trainer
– Doctor
– Masseuse (x3)
– Chiropractor

And a couple other ones that frankly, I’m not even sure what they are.


Harrison told Kremer he estimates he spends $350,000 a year to take care of his body. That’s over 25% of his base salary in 2016 of $1.25 million, and that’s counting everything before taxes, too.

He says the expenses are worth it in order to keep playing in the NFL.

“The problem is going to be trying to keep that up when I’m done playing so that I can still feel good,” Harrison joked.

His workouts have become legendary and he’s the true definition of a gym junkie, now famously the first one in the weight rooms every Monday morning, posting his impressive workouts to his Instagram page. He’s become a quiet leader for this team, Mike Tomlin called him a “peculiar leader” at Tuesday’s press conference, for his ability to lead by actions, not words.

While this could be his final year in the NFL, Harrison seems to be physically fit enough to keep playing into 2017 if he wanted to. It would require a new contract, he’s set to be a free agent, but the Steelers would almost certainly welcome him back. It becomes a question of how Harrison balances his personal life, his family, and his two children. That would be the driving factor behind hanging up his cleats.

For now, Steelers’ Nation will enjoy the hard work from Harrison. And all the doctors who help him play to the level he’s at.

Check out the full interview with Kremer below.

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • PaeperCup

    And a random drug test notice is sent to Harrison right after the interview

  • Axe Skot

    Man, do I love me some 92.

  • Craig M

    Am I the only one that thinks he may be part vampire? 🙂

  • I wanted to see this interview and somehow missed it. Thanks for the recap Alex.

  • srdan

    I think he was drug tested at half time of the Dophins game (joke)

  • blackandgoldBullion

    He has mentioned that years ago. I am always saying it’s almost criminal how little he gets paid compared to others. Then check out his expenses, nutritionist, trainers and after taxes he is making a pittence.

    All the more reason Harrison and others should be paid a little more while some overpriced talent should take a little less.

  • Daniel

    Harrison belongs with Lambert, Hamm all the greats

  • srdan

    He is very well spoken and a great interview when you get him out of the locker room.

    We as fans should appreciate him. And not for the accolades but for the work. Fans go up and down with their emotions. But one thing I always do every Monday morning I log onto his Instagram. And you can tell that nobody is around, just him. It gives me a piece of mind during the losing streaks like this year.

  • PaeperCup

    I do the same. The guy is crazy working hard after a win or loss. It’s the first thing he does on Monday. He doesn’t go down to Miami and hang out on a boat.

  • I.P. Freeley

    I’ve had my Harrison jersey for about 10 years now and it’s my only one. I hope to wear it for at least one more season.

  • dany

    once he officially retires he’ll continue doing that and you’ll be like wtf!

  • Froggy

    Hmmm, I spend about $35 a year taking care of my body. But then I get a break because Mrs. Froggy has a dry sense of humor and provides for free all the needling I can handle.

  • The Truth

    If he plays another season he deserves a raise.

  • twitch.tv/smokerjoesteelers

    Thats a really decent salary and you have to think they have more patents then just him. I doubt they just sit around at home and move into action at his call

  • twitch.tv/smokerjoesteelers

    He Does get Drug tested “randomly” a hell of a lot. Well when I was in the Navy they randomly drug test 2% of the ships crew every week. For the first 3 years I didnt get a drug test and then all of the sudden I had 3 1 week apart from each other so its hard to say if the Commish has a vendetta against him.

  • StillersInThe6

    Finding the latest PED-test-beating substances I’m sure is very costly, indeed…

    I’m kidding guys, I love this guy #deebo4life

  • thomas hmmmm

    Hopefully when that day comes that he does retire the team hires him as a S&C coach. Let him work his way up the coaching ranks. The guy is a workaholic and would do great at any job he was given. Just because he has the work ethic to learn all he needs to know about his job then apply that knowledge to his job.

  • thomas hmmmm

    Mrs. Froggy must not needle you to much if you only spend $35 dollars a year on alcohol to block out all the needling and training she gives you.

  • colingrant

    Simply the cost of doing business. I can’t say for sure, but I believe medical expenses exceeding 10% of one’s income is tax deductible. The definition of qualification remains a question, nonetheless, the cost/benefit equation suggests his ROI makes playing worthwhile and profitable as long as health and enjoyment are realized.

  • Steeler fan in NE

    Gonna go out on a limb and say that overall best steelers linebacker ever

  • Chris

    I wonder if /howmuch he is able to write off of these expenses for his taxes. I mean the methods seem to clearly help him in his line of work. Not arguing that he shouldn’t be paid more (he should). Just curious.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Thanks for posting Alex! Going into this season; I had Deebo ranked # 18 on my 500 all-time Steelers list just behind Greg Lloyd. Not sure how far he will climb up once the list is recalculated after this season but he is one of the best linebackers to ever wear the Black & Gold – and that is saying a lot.

  • 20Stoney

    You got your money’s worth! If I buy a jersey, it’s the kiss of death. The guy will be gone within a year.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Please buy a Kaepernick jersey.

  • Of course he’s not the only patient, I wasn’t talking about them though.

  • Alex Kozora

    Yeah, I figure most of that is tax deductible. Or covered under medical insurance or something.

  • Froggy

    What he pays to keep himself in shape should be a trade or business expense, deductible under Section 162. Lamar Odom took the IRS to court a few years back over disallowed deductions for $12K he paid in fines and $178K he paid for professional training and conditioning, and pretty much won. (The IRS settled for 10% of what they originally sought.)

  • T3xassteelers

    Think he’s HOF bound?

  • Nolrog

    Actually, he had to stop the interview in the middle to take the drug test and then he could continue answering questions (that’s a joke)

  • Nolrog

    In randomness, you expect that kind of thing. Runs are completely expected in random numbers (go watch a roulette wheel and you’ll find one that has a run of 8 or 10 reds.)

  • DirtDawg1964

    That’s pretty funny – good for a giggle. But if we get a vote I’d say buy a Brady jersey. Before next week.

  • DirtDawg1964

    That’s a big limb. If you watched Ham or Lambert you wouldn’t say that.

  • Dan

    I would think so, but with LC Greenwood not in, I’m baffled by their process. At any rate I’d be happy to give him a reasonable chunk of our salary cap to stick around another year.

  • DirtDawg1964

    He’d need 100+ sacks to be an absolute lock. I doubt he gets strong consideration unfortunately. His Defensive Player of the Year and pick six in the SB will stick in some people’s minds though.

  • Mark

    The 101 yard interception return was the greatest play in Steelers/Superbowl history IMHO. The best thing was that I was at the game with my sons. An awesome father and sons moment.

  • 20Stoney

    Ha. I meant gone from the team, not gone from the earth!

  • Chris92021

    If he wants to come back in 2017, the team should cover his 360k or so.

  • PaeperCup

    But do they even in roulette it will eventually land on Zero. Makes me wonder, has Tom Brady (zero) ever been randomly tested?

  • My favorite play ever as well

  • Lambert is my favorite, but Hamm has to be the best

  • That’s pretty cool man I’ll have to try that. The peace of mind thing I could definitely see that working

  • SilverSteel

    Thats for sure. Sounds like we are getting one hell of a bargain for his salary. We should be throwing him a bonus to cover his health expenses. He is critical to have for this team to win right now.

  • SilverSteel

    Don’t forget Kirkland. One of the smoothest big guy LBs to ever have played.

  • After Dupree’s hit on Matt Moore

  • Jack Lambert is my favorite, but man, James Harrison is my favorite too

  • gdeuce

    James is a guy who could play in any era, truly an all time great Steeler

  • gdeuce

    they have an anti-steeler bias, that’s why Donnie Shell isn’t in too

  • Kick

    I am saying it, James Harrison belongs in the hall of fame.

  • Garrett Hunt

    If I was running the Steelers I would do everything I can to hire this guy after his playing days. His one responsibility would be to help players take care of their body by the proven methods he has shown. Wouldn’t hurt to have him around the weight room either of course.

  • T3xassteelers

    He definitely has the HOF plays. Yeah, I’m not sure what the committee will think. He was one of the best players on one of the best defenses of the decade though… I hope they don’t measure his play only on sacks.

  • T3xassteelers

    Yeah I just don’t know.. He’s definitely HOF worthy in my opinion… but idk what they will think. He has those signature plays as well.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    $1000/day for every day of the year seems to be wildly exaggerated.

  • Dan

    He has 33 career forced fumbles. That has to be right up there at the top.

  • Mercury22

    Concur to both, Rooney’s should kick in the 350 a year.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Possibly. But he is not you normal people who call a massage therapist and book an appointment weeks in advance and pay $70 an hour. He probably has 4 of them on speed dial so they might drop everything and come running for him and surely pays a pretty penny for that. Nutrition, acunpuncturists, other experts, not only in Pittsburgh but in arizona when he trains at that facility (more big bucks).

    I truly believe that he spends so much time in the weight room that he is too tired to stretch after training and practices, just like Woodley. But Woodley would probably just go eat and his muscles were so tight he would routinely pull something and be lost to the team. Harrison uses massage and acupuncture as a substitute. You get to relax while someone stretches you out and calms you. Smart guy, but it costs.

  • Heywood Jablome

    If I’m the Steelers, I hire masseuses and nutritionists on the staff. Either that, or contract with these and others (acupuncturists, chefs, etc) that players feel help maintain their bodies. That way the players don’t have to eat that expense. Plus, it’s more cost effective for the Steelers to employ this for the team, as opposed to individuals.

    The benefits of this are:
    1 – you may attract/retain more free agents at slightly more team friendly rates because players get better benefits.
    2 – you encourage players that aren’t as inclined to go the extra mile in taking care of themselves to do a better job of it because of access to this.

  • Heywood Jablome

    Plus, it would be a first to see a Strength & Condioning coach get drug tested 😉

  • DirtDawg1964

    I think the player he is closest to, who is in the HOF, is Andre Tippett. Andre had 100 career sacks, 19 fumble recoveries, 1 int, 2 def TDs, 5x Pro Bowler, 2x 1st team AP, 2x 2nd team AP, 6 playoff games.

    Harrison has same PB and AP appearances, 81.5 sacks, 9 fumble recoveries, 8 int, 1 defensive TD. Forced fumbles are not an official stat. He does have 19 playoff games and 2 SBs and that big play against the Cards.

    You could argue if Tippet is in why wouldn’t Harrison? But I might equally argue why is Tippett in.

    It will be an interesting debate. Would love to see it though. I think he’s one of the great players of his generation.