Veteran linebacker James Harrison re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers over the weekend, but during a Tuesday interview with Ike Taylor and John Harris on Trib Live Radio, the former Defensive Player of the Year admitted that while he’s happy to be back in Pittsburgh for at least one more season, he really wanted to play for the Tennessee Titans and former Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau in 2015.
“I’m very happy to be back but at the same time I’m kind of disappointed,” said Harrison, who signed a two-year, $2.75 million contract with the Steelers on Sunday. “I would be lying to say that I’m not. It wouldn’t be true because I wanted to be with Coach [Dick LeBeau] again. To be honest with you, I’m not going to sugar-coat it. They ended up calling me earlier than Pittsburgh had and I talked to Coach LeBeau and he let me know that they were going to be calling and it would’ve probably been basically after they got back from the owner’s meeting out in Arizona.”
Harrison went on to say that the Steelers called him on Friday and that the Titans matched the offer that was made to him and at that point he had a big decision to make.
“I had a decision to make and my boys, they’re my decision makers, and they were split. So I talked to a few other people, my parents, they of course were already out here [in Arizona] and they wanted me to do what I wanted to do and that they were ready to support whatever decision there was.
“Like I said, it was real hard. You know how it is with Dickie, you don’t want to let him down. You want to be loyal to a fault and really when it came down to it, I had to step back and look at it for what it is, it was business. With both offers being the same, it wasn’t a good business move to go to Tennessee because I would have to uproot everything and so on, and I already had everything in Pittsburgh and combined with my legacy is in Pittsburgh. Steelers Nation is the best fans around, so it made that decision a lot easier.”
Harrison, who will turn 37 in May, will more than likely be given every opportunity to start with the Steelers in 2015 and that’s likely something he wouldn’t have been able to with the Titans, who recently signed outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan.
Harrison currently remains out in Arizona training for the upcoming season and he said he hopes to be able to pick up this season where he left off last year from a physical and conditioning standpoint.
“Right now I’m in the process of building back to where I need to be so I can hit the ground running and not come in the same way I came in last year,” said Harrison.