The Pittsburgh Steelers are officially parting ways with star linebacker James Harrison. After Harrison expressed no interest in taking a penny less this season, the Steelers informed Harrison this morning that he will be released today.
The Steelers made multiple efforts to rework Harrison’s deal, asking him to take a paycut in the range of $2 million dollars, one source said this week. He was due $6.570 million in 2013.
The Steelers will save $5.103 million ($4.93 million dead money) in cap space and while releasing Harrison saves the Steelers cap space, his loss is a big hole as it’s unknown what the Steelers are going to get out of LaMarr Woodley.
Jason Worilds becomes the immediate starter at ROLB and drafting a pass rusher is a top priority for the Steelers.
Harrison, 34, will go down as one of the Steelers all-time great outside linebackers. In nine seasons with the Steelers, Harrison had 617 tackles, 64 sacks, 29 forced fumbled and 5 interceptions.
Harrison become a full-time starter in 2007, replacing Joey Porter. In six seasons as a starter, Harrison had 8.5 sacks or more in five of six seasons (2007-2012). Harrison posted three 10+ sack seasons (2008-2010) in his career. He was the 2008 defensive player of the year with 101 tackles, 16 sacks and 7 forced fumbles.
(12:20 p.m.) The Steelers have made Harrison’s release official.
“James has been an integral part of our success during his years in Pittsburgh and has helped us win two Lombardi trophies during that time,” GM Kevin Colbert said in a released statement. “We appreciate all of his efforts and wish him the best.”
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said, “James has played a major role in the success of this organization during his time in Pittsburgh. I appreciate everything he has done in my six years as head coach and wish him nothing but the best in the future.”