Harrison Fine With Potential 2017 Backup Role: ‘Whatever It Is They Ask Me To Do’

If the Pittsburgh Steelers are indeed already set on starting rookie outside linebacker T.J. Watt over veteran James Harrison come Week 1, the latter has yet to be told that’s the plan.

“I just found this out when ya’ll told me,” Harrison said Wednesday morning when he addressed the media at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe concerning what Steelers linebackers coach Joey Porter said a few days ago about him being a relief option for the team in 2017 behind rookie T.J. Watt and third-year player Bud Dupree.

Harrison was later reminded that Porter said a few years ago that he would have a snap count limit on him ahead of the 2015 season getting underway and how that plan ultimately went to the wayside.

“That’s what they felt at the time that’s what it’s going to be and it turned out to not be that. So, things changed,” Harrison said

Harrison, who as usual gave the media quite a few short answers to their questions Wednesday morning, was asked if his thoughts coming into training camp this year were that he would be the backup to both Watt and Dupree.

“Whatever it is they ask me to do,” Harrison said.

While Harrison said he’s fine with whatever his role ultimately is in 2017, he admitted that his production could ultimately suffer if he’s not playing a large amount of snaps during a game.

“The more I’m in there, the more productive I can be,” he said

He also admitted that not being on the field a lot could potentially hurt his ability to set opposing tackles up for certain pass rush moves.

“Yeah, yeah of course it’s harder,” he said.

Harrison, who has only had one limited practice in pads since training camp opened, was asked if he’s close to working more regularly.

“I hope so, we’ll see,” he said.

While Harrison is now the franchise’s all-time sack leader and he would like to add to that number in 2017, stats are the furthest thing from his mind entering the season.

“I want to get another Super Bowl trophy, I want to get another Lombardi. That’s it,” he said.

Harrison said that he has still hasn’t decided if he’ll play past 2017 but that he does feel fine right now and really no different than he did a year ago. He was then asked if playing at 40 years of age is still something he might like to do.

“I’m thinking of going to 40 if I can go to Vegas for the 40,” he said. “The Oakland Raiders team, that Las Vegas Raiders team.”

I’m not really sure what he meant by that as he’s currently under contract with the Steelers through the 2018 season. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how Harrison is ultimately used not only come the start of the regular season, but during it as well. For now, he’ll just do what the Steelers coaches tell him to do and if that means him staying in grey sweats the remainder of training camp, he seems fine with that.

“I’m not going to argue about not practicing in training camp,” Harrison quipped.

Even so, Harrison knows he still needs time to get himself into football shape nonetheless.

“I think it’s hard for anybody to get into football shape,” he said. “I mean, it’s going to take you a couple of weeks, because you’ve got to get used to the pads, fighting a guy with pads on, running and all that other stuff. You can run with a weight vest, everything else, it’s still a lot different once you get in there with pads on.”

  • John Hinton

    You gotta love Deebo’s attitude and commitment.

  • george

    I think the Vegas reference means he’s beating the odds!

  • will

    “We are going to have James on a snap count limit of 25″……..”James Harrison will be similar to a relief pitcher…..we will bring him in when Watt and Dupree get tired”……..”If you like your Doctor, you can keep your Doctor”……….

  • Big White

    I’d rather have Watt as the spell for Harrison. JJ’s preseason performance was impressive but i want to see it against the best blindside tackles in the league before i’m ready to anoint. Eric Flowers for the Giants has been much maligned for his career.

  • PaeperCup

    It’s hard to even call the role “backup”. He’s an impact player.

  • SwagDaddy330

    Very refreshing to hear a guy talk with a team first attitude.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I love James. He’s all about the team. No problems there. However I also remember him saying a couple of years ago that he did not believe in veteran days off. He is ready to go any time and he thought that if you could not handle it, it would become perfectly obvious.Trust me, he can handle it.

    Tomlin is probably protecting the guys on offense because will hit you in practice. And he probably thinks he is saving James from expending too much needless energy. But he has to get in there soon or he will not be ready for the start of the season.

  • Kevin Artis

    TJ Watt first test will be against Joe Thomas week 1. Even Harrison has had trouble with him. We’ll see.

  • LucasY59

    the Raiders wont actually start playing in Vegas until the 2019-20 season (at the earliest) so James would have to play after he is 40 to get to play in Vegas (Steelers will travel to Oakland during the 18-19 season, which is the last yr on the lease for the stadium in Oakland)

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    Every time James Harrison addresses the media, Bill Belichik shakes his head and thinks to himself: “How did I miss that guy? Not only is he a great player, he knows exactly how to talk to reporters.”

    I doubt very seriously James is worried about his playing time. He’s the best edge bender on the team. Everyone knows that and so does he. Let him rest as much as possible early on and get him ready for the stretch run. Worked great last year. No reason to change the recipe. He’ll play when it matters and, I suspect, he’ll make plays when it matters. He always has. Check out last year’s divisional playoff game for proof of that.

  • Shane Mitchell

    So some fans and the media still believe Porter’s ridiculous BS even after Tomlin said otherwise?

    “What the hell is Jerry Porter doin out on the field talkin bout who gonna start now?”……. Not sure who is more gullible Pacman or the media.

  • Brenton deed

    What??? Now he’s being fined for being a backup???

  • Mike Rowan

    Spot on.

  • Greg Payne

    Does anyone else think that the “Playing in Vegas” comment was about the reprimand he and a few other players got for participating in a Las Vegas charity event earlier this year? I think Deebo was sneaking one in on Roger here. If he got fined for being in Vegas but the league is still putting a team there, well, why can’t he go play for them?

  • mokhkw

    Yea that’s how I interpreted the “Vegas” remark as well.

  • Terrible Towlie

    Jarvis Jones’s best games were vs Thomas

  • Terrible Towlie

    yeah, good for him…..goodell is a turd