Huge news out of Pittsburgh. The Steelers have just announced they have released James Harrison. He was waived as part of the corresponding move to officially get Marcus Gilbert back on the active roster.
We have activated OT Marcus Gilbert from the Reserve/Suspended by Commissioner List to our active roster, and released LB James Harrison. https://t.co/yF8wLQD9Ac
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 23, 2017
Harrison is the Steelers’ all-time sack leader but has spent most of this season on the bench or in sweats. He’s recently expressed frustration over his role in the defense.
Deebo presumably finishes his Steelers career with 80.5 sacks and 82.5 in his career for the one year he spent in Cincinnati. He’s only played five games in 2017, making no starts, in just 40 snaps over the season. Without any role on special teams and virtually nothing on defense even when active, the Steelers made the cold, calculated decision to let him go.
A UDFA in 2002, Harrison bounced around between the Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, and even playing for the NFL Europe’s Rhein Fire. He saw steady playtime in 2004 but it wasn’t until 2007, already 29 years old, where he became the full-time guy. For the next five years, he recorded at least 8.5 sacks and notched a whopping 16 in 2008, for which he was named Defensive Player Of The Year.
Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Harrison’s agent says Harrison wants to keep on playing.
Caught up with Harrison’s agent, Bill Parise, who said this was amicable, understood roster dynamics, was well-known Harrison wanted to be more involved in D and wants to continue playing. “We’ll see what Santa brings us,” Parise said
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) December 23, 2017
Even as a vested vet, since the trade deadline has passed, Harrison will be subject to waivers. If he clears, he will then become a free agent and able to sign anywhere he wants.
UPDATE (5:03 PM) Harrison has posted a message on Instagram.
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) December 23, 2017