The Pittsburgh Steelers waived veteran outside linebacker James Harrison on Saturday to make room on their 53-man roster for tackle Marcus Gilbert, who was returning from his four-game suspension. In short, Monday’s road game against the Houston Texans was the Steelers first contest this season without Harrison being present. After the Steelers beat the Texans, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked during his post-game press conference if it will be tough not having Harrison around moving forward.
“You know, it’s just life in football,” Tomlin said. “You know, sometimes you’ve got to make tough decisions. Obviously, we had to take Marcus Gilbert off the suspension list and so sometimes tough decisions are part of it. It’s just life.”
So, does Tomlin envision Harrison being gone a permanent thing, or does he think he might be back on the roster at some point?
“I’m not speculating, guys,” Tomlin said. “I don’t even know if he was claimed or not. Today I think was the claim on that. So, you know, I’m not going to get into speculation.”
Harrison, in case you missed it, did clear waivers at 4 p.m. EST on Monday and that now means he’s a free agent and thus free to sign with any team that might offer him a contract.
After Monday’s win against the Texans, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was asked to talk about Harrison not being on the team right now.
“It’s tough,” Roethlisberger said. “Close friend, obviously, and a guy that we played together for a long time.”
The Steelers didn’t suffer any significant injuries in their Monday win over the Texans and because of that, there’s a good chance that Harrison won’t be back on the roster ahead of the team’s regular season finale next Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
A few weeks prior to him being waived, Harrison made it clear during an interview that he probably wouldn’t have re-signed with the Steelers during the offseason had he known he would ultimately hardly play during the 2017 regular season. Because of those remarks, Harrison might choose to not re-sign with the Steelers moving forward should they even want him to return in the coming weeks.
“Can’t wait to find out what God has in store for me next. Many thanks to #SteelersNation for the years of love & support,” Harrison posted on his social media accounts after the Steelers waived him on Saturday.
Harrison registered just one sack in the 40 total defensive snaps that he played this season.