On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers talked James Harrison out of retirement and re-signed him for a two-year contract. The decision came after starting right outside linebacker Jarvis Jones sustained an injury.
Harrison had posted Saturday on Instagram that he was yet to make a choice between the Steelers and Tennessee Titans.
He was keen to join Titans owing to his relationship with Tennessee’s assistant head coach/defense and Steelers’ defensive coordinator for previous 11 seasons, Dick LeBeau.
According to the official website of the Pittsburgh Steelers, this year will mark Harrison’s 13th season in the NFL and 12th with Pittsburgh (2002, 2004-12 and 2014). He was with Cincinnati in 2013.
Last year, Harrison made a total of 45 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 11 regular season games (four starts), along with two tackles in the team’s postseason contest.
ESPN quoted Kevin Colbert, Steelers general manager, saying at the NFL owners meeting on Sunday, “Real happy to have James stay.
“This offseason James has been great with our young defenders and particularly our linebackers. I think he’s taken on a mentorship role and he seems to really be enjoying it. Plus we think he can still help us on the field.
“I think he has starting abilities. I think you have to be careful for any type of player at that age save a quarterback.”
Jones will be entering off-season practices as starter, so the spot will be competitive.
Harrison is third on the Steelers’ all-time sacks list (69.5). He ranks alongside Jones, who didn’t play most of last season owing to a dislocated elbow, and Arthur Moats as the only outside linebacker with NFL experience.
The Steelers also signed former Canadian Football League star Shawn Lemon in January and are looking to bring in an outside linebacker in the NFL draft.