The Pittsburgh Steelers officially announced the signing of veteran outside linebacker James Harrison on Tuesday and during his weekly press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin discussed the decision along with what the initial plan will be with him.
“Really, it’s a simple and easy decision for us,” said Tomlin about the decision to bring back Harrison. “We know James, James knows us. James understands how we desire to play defense, he understands scheme. We’re not going to assume that he’s up to speed on the schematics. It’s been over 12 months since he’s been a part of us, so we’re going to respect that. His level of participation will be determined by what he can execute and his level of conditioning.
“So I don’t have the answer to his amount of participation that we’re going to have from him in this week, if any, or in the upcoming weeks. We’re simply going to play it by ear. We’re going to see what he’s capable of handling from a mental standpoint and from a physical standpoint, from a conditioning standpoint and let that be our guide. It will be no different from the process that we went through in re-acclimating Brett Keisel into the fold as we brought him back a number of weeks back, now.”
Tomlin would later say that Arthur Moats will start this week at right outside linebacker against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and that Harrison’s role has yet to be determined.
“Right now Arthur Moats is the starter, because he finished the last football game and played well,” said Tomlin. “We’ll see what James is capable of doing and go from there.”
Tomlin said Harrison will be given snaps in practice right away to help determine his current conditioning level.
“James is the type of guy that takes great pride in his workouts and his overall level of conditioning over a 12 month calendar,” said Tomlin. “We’ll just see where he is and let that be our guide. And again, it’s not any different than what we did with Brett Keisel.”