Linebacker James Harrison signed a 2-year, $3.5 million contract that keeps him with the team through the 2018-2019 season. Harrison has spent 13 of his 14-year career with the Steelers.
James Harrison and Steelers reached agreement on 2 year, $3.5 million deal, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 1, 2017
Report: Steelers to Re-Sign James Harrison to 2-Year Deal
Harrison started seven games last season and played in 15 games. He registered five sacks while primarily being in a backup role. Harrison’s starts were more because of injuries to projected starters like Bud Dupree and because of underperforming Jarvis Jones, a former first-round draft pick.
Despite being 38 years old, Harrison is still a valuable asset to the Steelers’ defense. He obviously has great experience and knowledge to bestow on the young linebackers the Steelers have acquired over the past few seasons. Unlike a coach, the younger guys get much more out of playing with Harrison rather than getting only coached by him. If you follow Harrison’s Instagram account, you get merely a glimpse of his work ethic. That kind of veteran, one who is still hungry and works extremely hard, that can become infectious among other teammates.
The Steelers have long believed in a good pass rush. They’ve drafted linebackers in early rounds in drafts over the past few seasons, and the Steelers value Harrison’s contributions on and off the field. Head coach Mike Tomlin obviously has somewhat of a close relationship with Harrison. Harrison had retired in 2014, just after the season had began. When Jarvis Jones and other linebackers went down with injury, Tomlin called newly-retired Harrison if he was interested in a comeback. Harrison signed with the Steelers for the remainder of the season and has been with the team since.
Harrison, undrafted out of Kent State, will be 40 at the end of this new 2-year contract. Harrison’s first NFL season was in 2002. He spent time on the Steelers’ practice squad, along with the Raven’s practice squad. In 2004, he finally earned a place on the Steelers’ roster. He is a two-time Super Bowl champion (XL and XLIII), five-time pro-bowler, two-time All-Pro, and was the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year.