Harrison had his least productive season, statistically, since becoming a regular starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007. Harrison made 10 starts in 15 games for the Bengals last season and compiled just 30 tackles with two sacks and an interception.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis wishes they had found ways to utilize Harrison more last season.
“I wish we could have got him on the field more often. I feel bad about (that),” Lewis said, in an interview with Alex Marvez and Adam Caplan on Sirius XM NFL Radio. “I thought we’d have an opportunity to really get him out there more often but the way offense dictated to us, we didn’t get that chance very often.”
Lewis said the Bengals feel confident about the potential of linebackers Emmanuel Lamur and Jayson DiManche, which was part of the reason the team felt comfortable moving on from Harrison. But Lewis still speaks highly of Harrison’s time in Cincinnati and what he brought to the locker room as well as the field.
“James was a tremendous role model and example of how you play the game. He’s a great man. He did a great job for us this last year. He really helped us immensely, helped us win the division. He made critical plays at critical moments.”
Harrison remains a free agent. He wants to return to the Steelers and the two sides appear to have mutual interest over a possible reunion. Harrison played his first 10 seasons in Pittsburgh.