We often find ourselves repeating the fact that football players aren’t normal humans, because no matter how long you watch, follow, or write about this game, the physical barriers that NFL players seemingly break routinely remain remarkable.

For us mere mortals who become sore from long hours sitting stationary while staring at a blinking screen, surgery of any kind is usually a massive ordeal. But football players like Trent Richardson will have what’s deemed a minor knee scope, and return to have said knee rammed repeatedly during live game action in just a matter of weeks.

Richardson is young, though, and still hasn’t been on the field for a single snap during a regular-season game. Steelers linebacker James Harrison is 34, and there’s a chance he could be headed for a similar procedure.

You don’t get any more mid-August than August 15th, and as we creep closer to September, Harrison still hasn’t participated in training camp. The veteran and leader of Pittsburgh’s pass rush missed four games last year with a broken bone in his eye socket, and now he’s been out due to an irritation behind his kneecap that’s caused swelling.

Again, that’s an ailment that I would easily use to justify at least a month of watching Saved By The Bell re-runs, and eating oatmeal. Meanwhile, there’s never been any major concern over Harrison not being ready for Week 1, with everyone around the Steelers organization remaining confident that their nine-sack man from last year (and 36 since 2008) will be just fine.

However, now there’s a chance he could have to undergo arthroscopic surgery to make that speedy return possible. But don’t worry, it’s only minor surgery. Just a few jabs into the flesh here and there. No biggie.

Harrison’s agent spoke to the Beaver County Times:

“With the exception of this little knee thing, James is probably healthier now that he’s been in three years,” said Bill Parise, Harrison’s agent. “He’s extremely fit. He just has to get this irritation behind his knee cap cleared up. That’s what’s causing the swelling, and (the Steelers) just want to get rid of that.

“So we might even look at doing a scope of that to get it cleaned up. We’ll just have to wait see how it plays out.”

He’s currently on the PUP list, but Harrison may be removed from it in a week or so to see how his knee responds to the pounding of practice. If it doesn’t respond well, then the surgery to clear up the swelling will be pursued so that Harrison has enough time to recover before the regular season.

Whether he can recover and be ready for Week 1 is unclear, but since he’s a finely-tuned athletic machine, we like his chances.

UPDATE: Since nearly every post today has one of these update tags yelling at you, why stop now. Later in the afternoon Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that instead of waiting, Harrison had the knee scope done today. His recovery time is still unclear, although since the surgery was performed now instead of next week his chances of being ready for Week 1 have presumably increased. However, Harrison could still remain on the PUP list to start the season, and if that happens he won’t be available until Week 7.

And now the links part of the links post…

  • Chris Johnson doesn’t care for your silly preseason worries. [The Tennessean]
  • You know, there aren’t enough completely meaningless and arbitrary debates around the NFL nowadays. So hey, which teams could use Usain Bolt? [The Associated Press]
  • The Jets’ training camp perfectly summarized in 140 characters. [Brian Costello on Twitter]
  • Sorry, Chad Johnson, the Seahawks have enough useless veteran receivers. [PFT]
  • Seattle has even less room for Johnson with Sidney Rice now healthy enough to wear a jersey that isn’t red. [Seattle Times]
  • Today in rumor juice: did Jason Witten suffer a spleen injury? [Dallas Forth Worth News Facebook]
  • Mike Wallace is stepping up his personal workouts, so maybe he really is returning soon. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
  • Barring an injury to either Matt Flynn or Russell Wilson this week, Tarvaris Jackson will likely go on the trading block. If you’re surprised, don’t be. This has been coming since April. [Jason La Canfora on Twitter]