2018 Offseason Questions: When James Harrison Is Done, Will He Retire A Steeler?

The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.

Question: When all is said and done, will James Harrison (for a second time) retire with the Steelers?

It was three and a half years ago that James Harrison officially retired from the NFL, signing a one-day contract to do so with the Steelers, the team with whom he had had all of his success up to that point in his career.

He just played on Sunday, so obviously retirement didn’t go so well. In fact, it only lasted a month or two, if memory serves, before Jarvis Jones was injured and the Steelers came calling, coaxing him out of retirement, which worked so well that he is talking about wanting to play into his early 40s now.

Things didn’t end well in 2013. The Steelers were tight against the cap and needed him to take a pay cut, which he refused, which resulted in his being released. He ended up signing with the Bengals on a two-year deal, but he was released after one, and after not finding work, he ultimately decided to retire, and to retire with Pittsburgh.

He remained with the Steelers for the next three-plus years before he was released late in his past season—something that he had requested multiple times. There was clearly some acrimony between the sides that went beyond ‘business’ this time around, which leads one to wonder if those issues can be resolved in a similar manner.

Will Harrison continue to play? He will have to find suitors first, and there will not be many teams looking for a 40-year-old pass rusher, something that we have seen time and time again, even with some of the great pass rushers of this generation. They get bounced around, even though they can still produce a bit.

Whether his playing career ends this season or five years from now, he will retire eventually. Will he retire with a team? If so, will he come back to retire with the Steelers? Will the Steelers bring him back to retire? Would it be too early for the sides to work something out if he retires this offseason? He can retire even years after he last played a game, of course.

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