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James Harrison Released by Steelers After 4 Seasons in 2nd Stint in Pittsburgh

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2017

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears won 23-17 in overtime. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

With just two games left in the 2017 regular season, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced Saturday they released veteran linebacker James Harrison.  

Harrison was in his second stint with the Steelers after re-signing with the team in 2014. Steelers Wire's Neal Coolong wondered whether Harrison's time in Pittsburgh is officially over:

Neal Coolong @NealCoolong

This is probably just a roster shuffling move as it often is this time of year. He could be signed back Tuesday. https://t.co/bpBnKJr0ad

Harrison posted on Instagram shortly after the Steelers announced his release:

It wouldn't be surprising if the Steelers have moved on from Harrison for good.

Harrison is a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Steelers, and he was instrumental in helping Pittsburgh beat the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. His 80.5 sacks are the most in franchise history, and he has a good shot at making the Hall of Fame.

Despite everything he has done for and meant to the Steelers, he has appeared in only five games this season, making three tackles.

NBC Sports' Michele Tafoya spoke with Harrison earlier this month, and the five-time Pro Bowler indicated he was disappointed with his lack of playing time:

Michele Tafoya @Michele_Tafoya

@jharrison9292 told me today if he had known he wasn’t going to play much (inactive for 6 games, DNP for two more), he would not have signed with the @steelers this season. Would he have played somewhere else? “Oh, yeah,” he said. “Who wants to NOT play?” @PFT_Live @SNFonNBC

The 39-year-old had echoed a similar sentiment in October.

"It's a good feeling anytime I go out there and play," he said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ray Fittipaldo. "That's what I like to do. I like to compete. Anytime I'm on the sidelines of course I'm not happy about it. I want to go out there and compete. I'm not still playing this game because I want to stand on the sideline."

Judging by those comments, a reunion between Harrison and the Steelers may not be in the cards. Granted, it's unlikely he'd get much more playing time on another Super Bowl contender given both his age and declining skill set. 

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