Those probably weren’t the exact words. Surely they were much nicer, since speaking gently to a large football man is usually wise.
While we can’t be sure of the official rejection language (a language I became well versed in during my formative years), we can be quite confident in this: the Steelers have no desire to bring James Harrison back, even at a presumably reduced rate. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette passes along word that the Steelers have firmly moved on from their now former outside linebacker, and they’re content with an infusion of youth at the position in the form of Jason Worilds.
So here’s what it’s come to for Harrison: nothing, absolutely nothing. Eventually — no, hopefully — some interest will bubble, but as March slowly draws to a close, the soon-to-be 35-year old is quickly approaching the territory where he may have to wait for an injury during training camp or OTAs.
That seems far off right now, and it feels like a drastic assumption. But the only team with any interest in Harrison whatsoever was the Ravens, who brought him in for a visit before promptly signing the much younger Elvis Dumervil. That signing has created dominoes on the pass rusher market which are expected to tumble soon, but Harrison isn’t clinging to any of them as they fall. The void created by Dumervil in Denver and those blasted fax machines will most likely be filled by Dwight Freeney, while Osi Umenyiora signing with the Falcons seems equally imminent. Of course, the Falcons’ pursuit of Umenyiora was necessitated by John Abraham’s release, and he’s been courted by New England.
If he sits and waits, and waits some more, Harrison has only himself to blame. He was released by the Steelers after the two sides couldn’t agree on a restructured contract, with Pittsburgh understandably unwilling to pay an aging and declining pass rusher the $6.57 million he was due in 2013. In a market flooded with veteran pass rushers, Harrison overpriced himself, evidently believing that he could at the very least get that salary elsewhere.
He’s wrong, and it’s difficult to see how he could have imagined any other conclusion than the one currently playing out.