Once he knock off the rust that had accumulated after he initially retiring last offseason, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison was able to show Father Time and several left tackles that he still had a little more left in his 36-year-old body in 2014. However, while many are wondering right now if Harrison will try to come back for one more season, one beat writer seems to think the organization’s now ready to move on without him once and for all.
“As I’ve said before, it’s not about what Harrison might want. The question is do the Steelers want him back. And the answer to that is no,” wrote Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in his Wednesday online chat. “It’s meant as no disrespect to Harrison. But, he will be 37, and they didn’t bring him back this season until there were injuries. Their plan is to move forward and it’s not with James.”
Dulac’s comments probably aren’t viewed as being shocking as Jarvis Jones will be expected to man the right outside spot full-time moving forward. However, there’s still a gaping hole opposite Jones that needs to be addressed during the offseason as the other two outside linebackers capable of playing spot, Jason Worilds and Arthur Moats, are both scheduled to be unrestricted free agents come March just like Harrison.
One would think that the team shouldn’t have any problems in re-signing Moats, but Worilds could be a different story. If the team is unable to sign him to a long-term deal prior to the start of free agency, he might wind up getting a more lucrative offer from another team. Should that be the case and he leaves, Moats could open the 2015 season as the starter on the left side unless a free agent from another team is signed instead.
A lot of the questions concerning the Steelers outside spot opposite Jones will likely be answered come March, but as of right now, Harrison doesn’t look like he’ll be part of that equation even if he wants to be. Until Harrison is told to go back into retirement once and for all, however, I expect he’ll keep himself in shape just in case.