James Harrison: Steelers Linebacker Reportedly Out Sunday vs. Jets

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2012

If the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to slow down a suddenly impressive New York Jets offense, they'll have to do it without star linebacker James Harrison.

Harrison was not a participant in practice this week and won't be available for Pittsburgh's game against the Jets on Sunday, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Harrison has been out since August with an injury to his left knee.

Harrison thought that he would be able to play this week, telling the Post-Gazette earlier in the week, "I'm great, I'm full go, I'm playing on Sunday. Run it." He added, "I've been known to lie."

The fact that Harrison will once again be on the sideline comes as a blow for the Steelers.

They ranked No. 1 in defense last season but looked subpar in a 31-19 loss to the Denver Broncos.

With the Jets coming off of a 48-point performance against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, the Steelers will need all the help they can get to bounce back in Week 2.

Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said that Harrison will be missed once again, but the game shouldn't be decided by the injury. The players on the field will need to step up. He told the Post-Gazette:

"We've played without him. Our guys know what's required of them -- they have to step up and fill the vacancy and push on. We miss those guys, we'll be happy when we get them back, but it should never be a factor in who wins the game."

According to the report, safety Troy Polamalu has missed two days of practice this week and is questionable with a calf injury, so there's a very real chance that injuries will play a role in the Steelers' performance on Sunday.