James Harrison would like to return to Pittsburgh


Free agent linebacker James Harrison would like to finish his career where he started it.

Harrison, who entered the league as an undrafted rookie in Pittsburgh in 2002 and became a five-time Pro Bowler with the Steelers, says he would love to play for the Steelers again. Asked on NFL Total Access if he would like to return to Pittsburgh, Harrison answered, “Everybody knows that.”

“I’ve got two rings and I’ve got a lot of relationships, teammates, former teammates that are still good friends,” Harrison said.

Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor was in the NFL Network studio and indicated that Harrison would be welcomed back in the Steelers’ locker room with open arms.

The Steelers cut Harrison to save cap space last year, and he played last season in Cincinnati. The Bengals cut Harrison to save cap space this month. But Harrison said he doesn’t think he’s even close to retiring, and he said he’s going to “go until the wheels fall off.”

At the right price, Harrison could make sense for the Steelers. If the wheels have to fall off somewhere, Pittsburgh would be an appropriate place for Harrison to end his NFL career.

71 responses to “James Harrison would like to return to Pittsburgh

  1. Many think James Harrison is done given his lack of production in Cincy last season, but I see that more as a function of square peg/round hole.

    Harrison is a ROLB in a 3-4 — and the 4-3 experiment was less than successful. Similarly, Elvis Dumerville lost a lot of his game going for 4-3 DE to 3-4 OLB last year — as did Dwight Freeney when asked to make that change too.

    If Harrison can come back to the ‘Burgh for the vet minimum (or something like that) — it would be worth the shot. In his healthy games in 2012, Harrison was effective — so here’s hoping DeBo suits up in the Black and Gold this fall.

  2. I say bring him back so that Jarvis Jones can learn from one of the best to ever play the OLB position. Plus, with Joey Porter coaching him, he can’t go wrong with all of that combined NFL knowledge. The sky’s the limit with Jones. All he has to to is take advantage.

    “Here we go STEELERS, HERE WE GO!!!!!!”

  3. Yeah, makes sense to add another dying horse to the glue factory known as the Stealers.

  4. Sorry, James. Your attitude was tolerable while you were productive; now, it’s just not worth it. Same with Plaxico. It’s time to move on to the future.

  5. Even at League minimum, I wouldn’t want him back. He’s old & his best years are way behind him. He was good at one time, but that time has long since passed.

  6. I wouldn’t mind seeing him come back to Pittsburgh on a one year deal, for the veteran minimum. Basically just to be a mentor to Jarvis Jones and Jason Worilds, and to help them learn LeBeau’s defense.

  7. I hope the Steelers can bring him back for one more season. It was sad watching him getting emotional when talking about Coach Lebeau. The Steel City is where he belongs. It just makes sense to bring back Debo to where it all began. Go Steelers!!

  8. It’s funny. All those “relationships and teammates” didn’t come into play when you decided to end your tenure in Pittsburgh by being selfish. At this point in your career, you’re only looking for a paycheck so I’ll pass. If you wanted to sign a 1 day contract and retire here, OK.

  9. He just doesn’t want to miss out on bingo night with the rest of the geriatric crowd ….

  10. I love peope that have user names like stuckthefeelers ihatesteelers pittsburghsucks. Cracks me up. Makes me feel good knowing for years weve dominated Their Team so much that they are so angry that it consumes them!! Free Harrison! Bring him back! 1 last hurrah!

  11. Sure, take em. He belongs with the franchise with the legacy of tainted, steroid abusing “championships” teams.

  12. Memo to James: the wheels have already come off!

    I agree with Steeler fans who suggest a role as mentor to J Jones. IF his massive ego would allow him to accept that role.

    @ialwayswantedtobeabanker – explain that Dumervil comment please…I think you are misinformed, making stuff up or engaging in wishful thinking. Ravens are very happy with Dumervil’s production last year.

  13. Dude was awesome but unfortunately father time has caught up. This guy was the one big miss I think the Ravens organization regrets more than any.

    Relatively speaking, I can’t stand the Steelers but I do love the rivalry. I say bring him back for the sake of playing the Ravens. I would really like to see him get trucked a couple of times before he retires. 🙂

  14. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in the black and gold at the right price. He has tailed off, but can still be productive in certain roles withing the 3-4 D.

  15. “Everybody knows that” is the current version of the old “like, no duh”

  16. I would definitely welcome James back.. i think he would be a sizable upgrade over Jarvis (can’t believe they drafted him in the 1st round). It would at least buy Jarvis another year to hit the weights

  17. He’s a bargain insurance policy if he’s willing to play for the veteran minimum. Would be a valuable back up to Worilds and Jones while aiding in their ongoing development.

    No question he’s lost a step or two, but nobody matches his intensity and work ethic.

  18. Let the haters say what they will, but James back in the Burg is what the D needs.. A step slower maybe, but its his knowledge and leadership that is what the team needs now..

  19. Their secondary is old, not their front seven. A veteran linebacker willing to play a roll would be wise if he signed at minimum.

  20. I like the idea of him returning. And yes we are an old glue factory for dying horses. If it’s not your team don’t worry about it unless you actually view us as a threat. If we are not what’s the point of making negative comments?

  21. Pride goeth before the fall. He wouldn’t take the haircut Ike Taylor just took. Got mixed feelings about this. Assuming Kiesel and Clark are alumni now, the Steelers got a lot younger on D with Foote also leaving.

    The idea of a player leaving and coming back after a one year sabbatical is not new to the Steelers. Larry Foote went to Detroit for a year and returned.

    Might be something they consider after the draft. They got big holes at RB and WR (poor Ben!) and they may have to spend lots of picks there…so added depth on D may come from the Ollie’s Discount Store of the NFL….the discards.

  22. Ordinarily, I would say no but the Steelers are very thin at OLB and, assuming it would be for the vet minimum, it might be worth a shot to bring him in.

    Of course, as a Steelers fan, I’m far from biased here and that may just be me rationalizing a reason to see him in a Steelers uniform one more time lol.

  23. love the people who make jokes about the Steeler’s being old when the truth is the Steeler’s are one of the youngest teams in the NFL right now, and yes they were old but the past 2 seasons have seen an exodus of the old players and new younger ones taking their places.
    As far as James coming back, at the vet minimum and not a penny more for 1 season to mentor Jones and whoever they draft this season and to retire as a Steeler.

  24. Sure why not – join the Pittsburgh Old Folks Home, what’s one more senior citizen? Here’s your walker and Jitterbug phone, Grampa Jimmy!

  25. Being a Steelers fan myself the nostalgia part of me would love to see him back. But the reality part of me can only see it if he comes at veteran minimum and with the clear idea that Worilds and Jones are the starters and Harrison is only there to back them up. Whole problem the past few years is that people (including our front office) got caught up with nostalgia and keeping guys around well past when they should have because they brought us a title. Time to move on (like we have been doing this offseason) and bring in the new blood and let them find their way.

  26. They should tell him he can return to Pittsburgh anytime…he just has to purchase a ticket to the game…

  27. As a Bengals fan, I know the stats don’t necessarily add up, but he still passed the eye test to me for much of last year. Always considered him an asset…made some big plays when other guys weren’t. His interception and return down 13-0 against the Browns (where he was robbed of the TD)- completely changed that game and was one of the plays of year for our D.

  28. I respect Harrison. He was not able to get on because of all the nickel Cincy was in last year. He wasn’t gonna replace Dunlap, johnson, or burfict

  29. Becoming younger on defense doesn’t guarantee becoming better. It took the Steelers approximately 10 seasons, starting in the early 2000s, to build one of the great defenses of all-time. The final piece to the puzzle was trading up to land Troy Polamalu in 2003.
    The Rooneys, to their credit, went above and beyond to keep that defense intact, which was something they unfortunately refrained from doing in the 1990s, when some extremely good defensive players came and went. Kevin Greene lasted only three seasons in Pittsburgh.
    The Rooneys’ conscious effort to maintain the Steelers’ best defensive unit since the 1970s resulted in three Super Bowl appearances and two Super Bowl wins. The Rooneys are to be applauded for their loyalties towards outstanding players.
    Having said all of that, the franchise is now paying the price, and erecting another defense that even remotely resembles the one we just saw might take another 10 years to build.
    So be it.
    I’m just thankful and grateful for the defenses we had from 2004 to 2010. And James Harrison’s return wouldn’t hurt a thing…

  30. You bit that hand that feeds, James. They asked you to resructure, but you would not.

    You thought the grass was greener in Cincy.

  31. Took me a while. I think we need Harrison in many ways but. Can’t squander precious cap dollars, even a $800k Vet Minimum, that would knock someone else off the roster.
    We hired Joey Porter to be that guy in the dressing room.
    Too bad, love the guy, but this bus has no seats, even for James. If Joey doesn’t work out, then maybe he can help “motivate” the young OLBs.

  32. Assuming he comes in at a minimum value and passes his physical, I don’t see how they can go wrong on a one year deal. James knows the system and the people. Every year there are injuries where you need an experienced backup. Look at last year with Foote and Woodley being injured at LB. The “core” of the defensive starters will be younger than in recent years. But you need quality experience as well, and James can bring that.

  33. Harrison was never asked to “restructure.” He was told he was going to have to take a substantial pay cut. There’s a HUGE difference between “restructure” and “pay cut.”
    Harrison had earned every penny he had negotiated with the Steelers before they decided to renege on his contract…

  34. Wow.. To answer a few… He is not broke, he just donated hundreds of thousands to his alma matter, and is well known to be good with money, except last years free agent mistake.

    Do the Math… Steelers are in no way old. Troy & Ben had great seasons, Troy was very fast, injury free, and back to old form.

    Young at wr, rb, ol, dl, lb, …. Please explain how we are old.

    Taylor is in his last season. We are young all over the field.

  35. This man works to keep himself in the best possible playing shape. He’s got the winning attitude that’s needed in the locker room. He loves the coaches–especially LeBeau–and will give them 150 percent. He’s still got more to give on the field and in terms of helping develop young talent. If it’s economically feasible and there’s a place for him, I’d be thrilled to see Harrison back with the team this season. Absolutely thrilled.

  36. Old? Check.
    Often injured? Check.
    Shell of his former self? Check.
    Wants more money than he’s worth? Check.

    Sounds like a perfect fit for the Steelers!

  37. Love the guy, but really, how is that going to work after hiring Joey Porter as OLB Coach???

    Too many cooks spoil the soup.

  38. he never quit on the Bengals….LOL come on fans lets be accurate. He was a mentor and helped our defense in many ways… nickel kept him off the field and a 4-3 defense… When he came on the field he quickly had offenses looking to see where he was…Intelligent post please lol

  39. Why is this even a story? It’d be a story if you found even 1 NFL player that wouldn’t love to play for the Steelers.

  40. Debo back with J-Peezy as his coach? The D might be worth watching this year. Expect a little pain Mr. Flacco!

  41. Harrison is a Steeler , always will be. Who knows what cap space and roster space will allow. But The move to youth is a must for Steelers and is incomplete at cornerback.


  43. For the right price it wouldn’t be a bad idea. First of all this guy has always had a huge chip on his shoulder, he would love show the football world and his old teammates that he’s still got it.
    Secondly, Jones looked like he was getting man-handled on the outside. Just as they did with Timmons he might be moved to the inside, especially if they don’t get a good replacement for Foote. Kill two birds..etc, etc.
    Finally, James Harrison is NOT an inside linebacker. In Cincinnati he had to learn an entirely new scheme and new position. A terrible idea. He is a rush outside linebacker, knows the Steeler defense, and would love to show Dick Labeau how happy is to be back.
    Am I right or am I right!

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