The Pittsburgh Steelers parted ways with their franchise sack leader and the oldest defender in the NFL on Saturday when James Harrison was released. Harrison, in his 15th NFL season, only appeared in five games this season as a Steeler, but still was a locker room leader. His agent, Bill Parise said the move was made to make room for right tackle Marcus Gilbert who is returning from a performance enhancing drugs suspension.
James Harrison Released From Pittsburgh Steelers
Harrison was voted defensive player of the year after the 2008 season, the last time the Steelers won a Super Bowl. He might be best known for his 100-yard interception return for a touchdown on Kurt Warner during Super Bowl XLIII. Not only is it the longest play in Steelers history, it’s the longest play in Super Bowl history. The interception helped the Steelers defeat the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 and win their sixth Super Bowl ring.
Sacks of Sacks
If he is not resigned he will ride off into the sunset as the Steelers all-time sack leader. He accumulated 80.5 of his 82.5 sacks while wearing black and gold. Harrison spent one season with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he appeared in 15 games and had two additional sacks. Also, Harrison was the last Steeler to reach double digit sacks before this season. He reached 10.5 sacks in 2010, the last time the Steelers appeared in the Super Bowl. They were defeated by the Green Bay Packers even though Harrison was able to sack Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The feat of reaching 10 or more sacks had not been duplicated until this season. Cameron Heyward has 10 sacks with two games left to play.
Harrison posted this on his Instagram account as a result.
Whether or not Harrison will be resigned by the Steelers is something only the future will tell. He will be remembered as a quiet leader. Harrison can be seen as the last bastion of a Steelers defense that appeared in three Super Bowls over six years. If Harrison retires, he will do so with two Super Bowl rings.