James Harrison and Cincinnati Bengals Reportedly Close to Deal

Kyle BattleCorrespondent IApril 14, 2013

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter tweeted Sunday morning that the Cincinnati Bengals are expected to sign former Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison this week.

Harrison visited the Bengals this past week, as did former Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby. Both were auditioning for the "Sam" linebacker role previously filled by Bills linebacker Manny Lawson. 

Harrison has never played the Sam linebacker before, but that hasn't kept Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer from entertaining Harrison as a candidate. From Bengals.com

It's a position that in the past has required about 25 to 30 snaps per game in defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's scheme, but Harrison looks to have all the qualities for the job even though he's never played it. 

Harrison was released by the Steelers last month after he refused to take a pay cut. He was scheduled to make $6.57 million in 2013, a number he won't likely see again at this stage in his career. 

Harrison has drawn a lot of criticism the last few years for his tenaciously violent hits, many of which have resulted in fines and/or suspensions. His style of play has come into question several times in the media and has even forced Harrison to consider retirement in 2010 because his style of play was hurting his wallet so much. 

As long as Harrison can keep within the rules, there's no reason he won't be an asset to the Who Dey nation. As former Defensive Player of the Year in 2009, Harrison's numbers speak for themselves. Of his 64 career sacks, 51.5 of them have come in the last five seasons.

He also has two Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers.