Former Pittsburgh Steelers All Pro Linebacker James Harrison has decided to call it a career and begin his life’s work.
- Under Kevin Colbert, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had uncanny luck with undrafted rookie free agents.
No one serves as a better poster boy for Colbert’s ability to find diamonds in the discarded and unwanted than James Harrison, who first joined the Steelers in 2002 and survived numerous cuts. He only made the regular season roster in 2004, but made an impact immediately with his body slam of a drunken Cleveland Browns fan.
Still, Harrison had to work behind Joey Porter and Clark Haggans, and did not get his chance to start until Bill Cowher made way for Mike Tomlin.
- It was then that Harrison exploded on the national scene during the Steelers 75th Anniversary game.
That was only the beginning for Harrison, who followed up that 2007 season by winning Defensive Player of the year in 2008, and authored what is perhaps the most remarkable play in Super Bowl history during the Steelers victory in Super Bowl XLIII.
|James Harrison, Super Bowl XLIII|
Harrison struggled with a series of injuries following 2008, but he remained one of the league’s dominant outside linebackers during the rest of his time in Pittsburgh. Following the 2012 season, Harrison rebuffed the Steelers attempt to renegotiate his contract and the Steelers cut him, and played one final year in Cincinnati for Marv Lewis.
As a free agent this spring, Harrison openly spoke about wanting to return to Pittsburgh for a final year, and Kevin Colbert appeared to open that door. But nothing materialized as the Steelers instead opted to make a commitment to youth on defense.
- Harrison did flirt with the idea of playing for Bruce Arians in Pittsburgh West aka the Arizona Cardinals, but he instead chose retirement citing a desire to be close to his family.
As Steel Curtain Rising has mentioned before, Harrison didn’t simply live up to the Steelers Linebacker Legacy, he added his own contribution to it. And for that, Steelers Nation will forever be in his debt.
Thank you James. Good luck and God Speed as you begin your Life’s Work.
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