Archive for the ‘James Harrison’ Category

San Diego Chargers v Pittsburgh Steelers

The Bengals and former Steelers LB James Harrison are working on a deal that would see the 34-year-old join the club, according to a report by Adam Schefter.

Cincinnati lost starting outside linebacker Manny Lawson to the Bills in free agency, so they have a need at the position. Harrison was slated to make $6.57 million in 2013, but was released by Pittsburgh after refusing to take a pay cut.

The Bengals have also been interested in Karlos Dansby, but Schefter reports Harrison will be easier to sign. Harrison lodged six sacks last season.

Washington Redskins v Pittsburgh Steelers

Ever since the Pittsburgh Steelers cut ties with linebacker James Harrison, Harrison’s agent Bill Parise has been diligently working the phones, and thinks his client would fit in well with a handful of NFL teams.

Via The Baltimore Sun

“Baltimore would be a great fit for James,” agent Bill Parise said. “They’re a contender and a class organization, so James would definitely be interested. I would think they would have a need with the market for Kruger.”

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Philadelphia Eagles v Pittsburgh Steelers

Update 2: March 9th 11:50 am

This has been a widely expected move all week (see below) after the Steelers weren’t able to reach an agreement on a restructured contract for their aging linebacker, although Harrison is still effective when healthy.

As we’ve seen with others in this Steelers era (i.e: Hines Ward), this is a management team that smartly sticks to a valuation of a veteran, and moves on if he’s exceeded that number.

The motivation here was cap room, as it always is in the final days before free agency begins (officially at least). The savings are significant for a team that’s pinned against the cap seemingly every offseason, as according to ESPN’s John Clayton the Steelers gain $5.15 million in cap room from this move alone, bringing their total cap space to $6.6 million.

Despite his age, Harrison will still be the most coveted outside rush linebacker behind Paul Kruger on the open market. He had six sacks this past season even while missing three games, and over the past three years he’s taken the opposing quarterback down 24 times, in addition to 10 forced fumbles during that stretch.

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A trio of Steelers are poised to make their return this Sunday when Pittsburgh hosts their state rivals from Philadelphia.

Rashard Mendenhall

According to ESPN, the Steelers plan to ease running back Rashard Mendenhall (knee) into the lineup this week. The key word here is “ease”, and this terrifying word should scare fantasy owners away from starting Mendenhall on Sunday. If you have any other options, you should wait to see how he does this week before you start making him a staple of your starting lineup.

James Harrison & Troy Polamalu

Owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense will be crying tears of joy this weekend because they’ll see the return of linebacker James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu.

Polamalu hasn’t played since injuring his calf during the Steelers week one loss to the Broncos and Harrison will be making his season debut after having off-season surgery on his left knee.

This turn of events will also cause Michael Vick owners to squirt a few tears of their own, tears of sadness and dread.

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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.

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