I think this was nearly a given based on the comments James Harrison has made but his agent, Bill Parise, told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that Harrison intends on coming back for the 2017 season. And the Pittsburgh Steelers are welcoming him with open arms.
Talked with agent Bill Parise, who reps James Harrison. Said #Steelers want him back, Harrison wants to return. Sounds like a matter of time
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 21, 2017
Harrison is set to become a free agent meaning the two sides will have to agree to terms of a new deal. That could be a little tricky, as our Matthew Marczi pointed out earlier this month, juggling the value Harrison brings with his age.
From Matthew’s article.
“That to me raises the question of what sort of deal they might have to work out for him in order to bring him back into the fold for another year, because the reality is that they got more than their money’s worth out of Harrison over the course of the past two years, and the player and his agent are certainly going to be aware of that.”
At this point, it can never be guaranteed, but you have to work with the assumption that 2017 will be Harrison’s final year. Turning a spry 39 years old in May, Harrison racked up five sacks and forced a pair of fumbles last season, playing the vast majority of snaps down the stretch. He also dropped into coverage more than any outside linebacker on the team.
As Rapoport points out, a deal should get done in short order. Harrison will enter the year as the starting right outside linebacker, likely splitting time with whoever the team brings in during the offseason.