James Harrison: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation on Steelers LB's Future

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured Columnist

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison (92) before an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ron Schwane/Associated Press

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who has one year left on his current contract, will be 38 years old by the time the 2016 NFL season begins. It is unclear what his future in the NFL holds. 

Continue for updates.

Harrison Comments on NFL Future

Wednesday, Feb. 17

Harrison indicated he "will need [six] weeks of training to determine if his body will allow one more season," adding, "That's the guarantee I want," per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 

Harrison Expected to Return For 2016

Tuesday, Feb. 16

On Tuesday, team general manager Kevin Colbert said that he "anticipates" the veteran will be back for his 13th season, per Chris Bradford of the Beaver County Times.   

Harrison's agent, Bill Parise, echoed those sentiments when he spoke to ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler on Tuesday. 

"He's under contract for one more year," Parise said. "We plan to honor that."

The 6'0", 242-pound linebacker has one year remaining on a two-year, $2.75 million contract he signed before the 2015 season. Harrison is due around $1.25 million in 2016, according to Spotrac

Harrison Proved to Be Asset Last Season

Harrison recorded 40 tackles and 5.0 sacks in 2015, helping his team to the playoffs, where the Steelers eventually lost to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Divisional Round.

In the past nine years, only his 2013 season with the Cincinnati Bengals was worse. Harrison began the 2014 season retired after that stint with the Bengals but returned to Pittsburgh when he had the opportunity due to an injury at the position.

He's had difficulties piecing together a full season lately, however. That is why a 2015 season in which he played 15 games had to be a welcome sight for the Steelers. From 2011-2014, he missed 12 games because of his short retirement and a number of injuries. 

Don't let his age or injury history fool you, though. Few anywhere can rival Harrison's work in the gym, and he is still athletic. 

The steely-eyed, no-nonsense linebacker brings a mean streak and tenacity to a Steelers defense that was ranked an uncharacteristic 21st in the league in 2015.

That ranking is not a regular occurrence for a Pittsburgh franchise that has built its reputation on stifling defense throughout the league's history. 

Harrison's return, though, will ensure that a winning veteran presence will be back with the defense to help build up the unit to rival those of years past. 


Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.