James Harrison To Remain With Steelers In 2015

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers

Just hours after James Harrison posted an Instagram message saying he was considering whether or not to stay with the Pittsburgh Steelers or join Dick LeBeau and the Tennessee Titans, the Steelers announced this morning that they had signed Harrison to a two-year contract.  Financial details of the contract were not disclosed.

2015 will be Harrison’s 13th season in the NFL.  He has spent 12 of those years in Pittsburgh (2002, 2004-12 and 2014).  Originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2002 out of Kent State, Harrison has been a mainstay in the Steelers defense.  Last season, Harrison recorded 45 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 11 regular season games.  Harrison was a five-time Pro Bowl selection from 2007-11 and helped lead the team to two Super Bowl Championships (XL and XLIII).

Harrison is tied for first in franchise history with 17 multi-sack games and second in team history in sacks with 69.5.

Harrison had been training during the offseason in Arizona and met with Steelers officials in Phoenix where the 2015 NFL Owners Meetings are being held.

9 Comments on "James Harrison To Remain With Steelers In 2015"

  1. This is one of those feel good – feel bad decisions. On the feel good side, James Harrison is one of the great Steelers, a 5-time Pro Bowl player, and his TD run in Super Bowl 43 was the stuff of legend. As long as he wants to play the game, I’m glad he’s going to play in Pittsburgh. Beyond that sentiment, he was also one of the more effective players on defense last year, and he has plenty left in the tank. He deserves his contract.

    On the feel bad side, Harrison will turn 37 in May, 2015 and like it or not, time plays hell with the human body, even the bodies of superb athletes like Harrison. I would hate to see him get seriously injured. But if he is willing to play and the Steelers are willing to take that risk, so be it. I cannot deny that his talents will be needed in 2015.

    And therein lies the real concern with this deal. Not that the Steelers signed Harrison, but that they had to re-sign him – had to – because even at age 37, Harrison is still better than any other option the Steelers have at his position. The Steelers have failed to develop an LB capable of playing as well as Harrison, notwithstanding his age and his bum knee, and that management and coaching failure has now come back to haunt them.

    In the article below, Sheldon Dean accuses Steelers fans of being short-sighted in clamoring for improvements on defense and for criticizing the Tajh Boyd signing for that reason. I don’t recall anyone on this site criticizing the Boyd signing for any reason but inadequacy; Boyd obviously came cheap and Landry inspires little confidence as a backup, so it seems a straw man argument on Mr. Dean’s part – but let that pass. Dean’s real argument is that Blake contributed last year, Gay has improved, and Fogg and Webb are good athletes who may develop their potential in time to fix our CB problem in 2015. He then invites “skull-locked” fans to leave their irate comments, but provides no comment box.

    So on behalf of misguided fans who are “missing the big picture” in Dean’s view, let me offer a brief response. The Harrison signing above is Exhibit A in demonstrating a wide-spread neglect of the defense over the past six years. LeBeau’s unhappy departure is another; he lacked the necessary talent, and he knew it. The prospect of starting the season with two unproven CBs backing up Gay and Blake does nothing to inspire confidence. And our defense over the past six years has eroded badly, as shown by the Steelers record:
    2008 12-4 Won Super Bowl
    2009 9-7 Out of playoffs
    2010 12-4 Lost Super Bowl to Packers
    2011 12-4 Lost Wild Card Game to Broncos and Tim Tebow in OT)
    2012 8-8 Out of playoffs
    2013 8-8 Out of playoffs
    2014 11-5 Lost Wild Card game to Ravens

    During that entire period, Ben R. was our franchise QB, while our defensive talent slowly melted away. Mr. Dean observes that Ben R had six TDs in two games last year. But so what? The team also lost to Jacksonville, Tampa, and Cleveland, couldn’t score TDs in the red zone when needed, lost two out of three to Baltimore, and backed into the playoff game – because the defense couldn’t stop opponents consistently. Putting up points is not enough when opponents are putting up even more points. This is still a team game, after all.

    So, yes, Mr. Dean, Steelers fans are a bit testy about the failure of the front office to buy better defensive talent. They have a right to be considering the debacle of the last three years – and without an infusion of talent, the defense in 2015 isn’t likely to be even as good. And Ben R’s magnificent new contract is not going to do anything to stop the bleeding.

  2. DrGeorge,
    I saw your comment and felt there were a couple misconceptions needed to be cleared up. First, the fans that have been “skull-locked” were social media users who no matter the news could say nothing but “spend the money on cornerbacks”. Not on OLB, not on safety. Just a constant focus on cornerback. You do not fall under that category. You realize that the overall defense has declined as I do. Maybe I could have been a bit more concise. However, nowhere did I say anything about Roethlisberger throwing six touchdowns in 2 games. I said Ben needed to be signed and that it was important to get the deal done. The Steelers do not have any real options at quarterback behind Ben.

    Signing Harrison is absolutely a demonstration -as was bringing Keisel back in 2014- that Pittsburgh has backed themselves into a corner on defense. They haven’t managed their options to the best of their ability if they are forced into these situations.

    I want to comment more but need to go back over what you’ve said so I can do so appropriately. As for no comment box beneath my op-ed, there absolutely is one. It is at the bottom of the page beneath the meme of the week. There is no comment box beneath my part of the Sunday Steel post because what I wrote was embedded within that overall page.

    I will look over your comments and return with a better explanation of my mindset and that of the fans who I was zeroing in on.

    Thanks

  3. DrGeorge,
    I think the reason you didn’t see a comment box is because you were most likely reading down the blogroll and did not open the individual page that the Sunday Steel post is on. That can be confusing. If our blog roll showed excerpts, I think more people would know that to read the post in its entirety, they would need to click on the headline to open that page. If you do so, you should see the comment box.

    The Tajh Boyd signing is neither here nor there. I don’t necessarily have a favorable or disagreeable opinion of him. My point was that on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter) that we post Steelers Gab items to, the majority of the fans have responded to nearly every topic is that the Steelers had better focus on the cornerback position at the expense of any other. That, to me, is a narrow mindset. Putting all of the eggs in that basket would be as illogical as spending the entire salary cap on wide receivers.

    You are right, it’s a team sport. That means the Steelers have more concerns than just the CB spot. Unfortunately, it has become something like a hypnotic disco ball “cornerback” hypnotism. The big picture is being missed by many people who can only see that little flashing light.

    The big picture, as you point out, is the fact that the team has not done enough to get a high level of production from recent draft choices; namely linebackers. I can’t say if LeBeau saw the issue and was hamstringed by the front office or if LeBeau was part of the problem. Maybe both is true. You nailed it. Big trouble on D.

    To question fellow fans is taboo, but it is okay to criticize the organization? That makes no sense to me. As a fan, I don’t always agree with the front office. As a sports writer, I see fans that think they should be in the front office. This isn’t to say there aren’t valid opinions on any side of an issue. I just find it disturbing to read fans writing comments like the following (posted to Twitter):

    “The Steelers wasted a draft pick on Ryan Shazier” only to have been the first ones to say that Shazier was a great draft choice.

    Surely I am not the only one who witnesses football fanatacism at its worst when fans flip-flops more than a politician on the eve of an election.

    Overall: Steelers fans, keep rooting for the team but don’t assume the sky is falling if the top cornerback doesn’t reside in Pittsburgh’s defensive backfield. Support the guys that get out there and play their hearts out…even if that means it is William Gay or Antwon Blake. Try to see what the coaches saw when they brought Webb in. He isn’t in the uniform because he has sexy legs.

    If I offended, I apologize. If fans can dole out a bit of criticism, I think it is safe to say that they should be able to receive a bit as well.

  4. Harrison IS wasted money. Period. Old figgen dude can’t keep up. Why are Rooneys not funding a damn cornerback? This team is messed up. Bout as good as Brown turds now

  5. That’s funny SDEAN, you go through very poignant and well stated postures defending your stance and then the very next person (mark) says what he says almost as if you didn’t even say anything g to begin with. I agree with mark, not what he specifically said but the fact that there is a total disregard for an editor opining about what the fans should or shouldn’t say or think…that mark post should be taken as a message…write your article, let us respond, and then shut up.

  6. Mr. Dean, thank you for the kind response. As for the comment box, I swear it is not below the meme on my computer — but technologically, I’m Amish, so I’ll take your word for it and thank you a second time for finding my comment under a different article.

    Now, about that Colbert interview above: he appears to be saying the Steelers might draft a CB, but wouldn’t expect him to start any time soon, and he confirms the views expressed here that there wasn’t much talent to choose from in free agency. Given all that, it sure sounds like
    we will see no upgrade in talent at our CB position in 2015, leaving Mr. Butler seriously handicapped in his effort to improve our pass coverage. Next fall, when Butler is catching flack from fans and the media, as he surely will, we would do well to remember the decisions that are being made now.

  7. Well said DrGeorge , The Rooney’s along with Colbert , have handcuffed Keith Butler exactly the same way they handcuffed Dick LeBeau . This defense is without talent with the exception of a couple players . LeBeau knew it and he knew there was no way he could win with it and he moved on . By the midpoint of the season , the fans will be screaming for Butlers head on a platter , when in reality they should be screaming for Kevin Colbert and Art Rooney’s head . Bottom line , they created this mess and Butler will end up being the scapegoat .

  8. I don’t know where all the hostility is coming from. As a Steelers fan I wasn’t offended by Mr Dean’s post on Sunday. I didn’t see these comments until I read this post though. He shared an opinion, fans responded, he commented back. Seems like some of my fellow fans know it is true that there are other ones out there that think their opinion is the only one. Mark is a tool. Jay, you can shut up too jagoff. Go read the idiots who ask crap of Dulac and Bpuchette. Last chat some bonehead suggested Steelers get rid of Timmons before his money has to be paid out. That sound intelligent? Same thinking as a guy who said the Steelers should move Ike Taylor to safety. I have friends who’re fans too and go on Facebook saying fire LeBeau all last season. Now he’s gone they are ticked at Rooneys. Admit it. Not every fan is a rocket scientist here. Why does everyone think an opinion is something only they can share? At least this Dean guy stuck to his guns. And those same fans will be asking for butlers head for sure. Wait an see.

  9. I don’t need an editor telling me what I should say, think or write on here or anywhere. So I’ll call it like I see it, Zach! Until the Steelers do something MORE than what they have the past few years, I will poo-poo their front office decisions. If you soft fans want to accept mediocrity, then that’s okay with me. I don’t. I expect to compete for a super bowl every year so long as we have an elite qb. The pats do it and it is a crying shame that they do because their organization seemingly had to cheat to garner their accolades and success. I feel hat that organization can’t carry a torch to ours so therefore I hold to a higher standard…Steelers have not come close to that since 2010. If you want to see it an easier softer way fine. That’s cool with me. But no editor or writer with his salt should be sticking up for this organization after the past four plus years especially in a blog atmosphere. I’m sorry you feel the need to call someone a jagoff, Zach! But I’m okay with it. If my asininity results in me being viewed that way, then I’m fine with it so long as the end result is/are more super bowl wins!

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