Pittsburgh Steelers: Re-Signing James Harrison Only Means Good Things

There are numerous ways to describe Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison. All told, the ageless veteran is simply relentless.

Returning with a vengeance over the past three seasons, would anyone going to be surprised to see Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison continue his reign of terror against opposing quarterbacks? It seems that the workout warrior and one-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year is getting better during this second stage of his career.

The imposing sack numbers are no longer part of the equation. But the five-time Pro Bowler can still bring the heat and make big plays. In 2016, Harrison played in all but one regular-season game and made seven starts. His finished with 53 tackles and a team-high five sacks. Add in an interception and a pair of forced fumbles and you have the makings of a solid year.

We bring all this up because the 38-year-old defender is slated for free agency in roughly two weeks. Both the player and the organization have expressed a desire to be together. “Of course James wants to be in Pittsburgh,” said Bill Parise, Harrison’s agent, to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. He also reports that the relentless defender is looking for a two-year contract.

Bringing back Harrison is also great when it comes to the team’s younger linebackers. Bud Dupree looks like a player blossoming these days and learning from one of the premier pass-rushers of this century is a big plus. Meanwhile, if the Steelers opt to re-sign Jarvis Jones (they did not pick up his option for 2017), perhaps he could benefit from a little more schooling as well.

In any case, Harrison should be back sooner than later. And that’s good news for a Pittsburgh defensive unit that has some promising young talent, but still has a long way to go.

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