Following the 2014 NFL Draft, my initial Pittsburgh Steelers 53 man roster prediction included linebacker James Harrison.
Here is the analysis that I wrote way back in May.
Yeah, I went there with Harrison for now. Where will the depth come from? Even if Zumwalt can play some outside, you really have to wonder about the depth past Jones and Worilds. This is scary. If they don’t sign Harrison, could another currently unsigned free agent with experience be added? Can Joey Porter still play? (kidding)
Harrison has remained unsigned since being released from Cincinnati Bengals back in March, but according to all of the videos that he posted over the summer on his Instagram account, he’s remained in tip-top shape.
During his retirement press conference, Harrison talked about wanting to spend more time with his kids. We now know that was really just code for nobody wanting him. Following his release from the Bengals, Harrison made it clear that he wanted to play one more year with the Steelers, so it probably shouldn’t be a big surprise that he quickly made the decision to come out of his brief retirement.
When Jarvis Jones went down injured Sunday night against the Carolina Panthers, I really didn’t think the Steelers would reach out to Harrison. Why? Well, I figured they were relatively happy with Moats being the next man up. Maybe they still are.
Regardless, the Steelers are extremely thin at the outside linebacker position with Jones out. Sure, they could’ve brought back Vic So’oto, but being as he didn’t even make it to the final round of cuts, pretty much tells you what they thought about him, even though I thought he played well during the preseason.
So what do the Steelers have to lose by bringing back Harrison? As long as he only gets the same kind of money, or less, than what Brett Keisel got upon his return to Pittsburgh late in the preseason, not much.
Let’s face it, at least Harrison knows the defense. Harrison also still wants to play. While it’s hard to believe that he can still play 60 snaps a game, 30 is believable and that means that he would likely rotate with Moats on the right side.
Jones won’t return for at least eight weeks, so the Steelers are betting that Harrison can hold up long enough until he’s ready to return. We’ll see.
After all, it’s not like the Steelers had very many options.
Here’s to Harrison proving all of the doubters (me) wrong one last time.