While Pittsburgh Steelers veteran linebacker James Harrison hopes to play in 2016, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday that he won’t know for sure whether or not his body will let him for a few more months.
Harrison, who reportedly plans on resuming in his training at Performance Enhancement Professionals in Arizona the second week of March, told Gerry Dulac that it will then take six weeks from then for him to know whether or not he’ll be able to play in 2016.
“I want to get back out there and get to at least six weeks of training and, by the end of that six weeks, feel good, not have any aches and pains,” said Harrison, according to Dulac. “You’ll have the normal soreness, but not having aches and pains and be able to have movements will be the key.
“If I get to that point and I’m feeling good, there’s probably a good chance – no, not probably – I will play.”
On Tuesday, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told the local media that he anticipates Harrison wanting to play in 2016 and that he wouldn’t see any reason we they wouldn’t want to have him back for another season.
“James came back, and he did a great job. Not only on the field, but he was really a great mentor to our younger players, not only the outside linebackers but everybody,” said Colbert. “He quietly inspired those guys.”
Harrison signed a two-year, $2.75 million contract last offseason and is set to earn a base salary of $1.25 million in 2016. He not only led all Steelers outside linebackers in total snaps played last season, but sacks as well. Assuming he plays in 2016, Harrison needs just three more sacks to pass Jason Gildon (77) as the Steelers’ all-time sack leader. His 76.5 career sacks currently have him tied for 67th overall on the league’s all-time list.
Now that Charles Woodson has decided to retire, Harrison stands to be the oldest defensive player in the league in 2016 should he decide to play. He’ll turn 38 in May.