James Harrison to return to Steelers? No thanks, team says
James Harrison would “welcome” a phone call from the Pittsburgh Steelers to discuss a possible return to the team that released the former defensive player of the year after the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement on a more salary-cap-friendly contract earlier this month.
That’s what Harrison’s agent, Bill Parise, told ESPN on Monday, a proclamation that probably had something to do with Elvis Dumervil signing with the Baltimore Ravens, the one team that had shown interest in Harrison, earlier in the day.
The five-time Pro Bowler has, in fact, been contacted by his former team ... but it wasn’t to reopen contract talks. The Steelers have informed Harrison that they are not interested in bringing him back for the 2013 season, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Apparently the team feels comfortable enough with former backup Jason Worilds taking Harrison’s place (or it has some other plan up its sleeve). At last week’s NFL meetings, Coach Mike Tomlin sounded ready to see if the second-round draft pick from 2010 was ready to become the next in a long line of great Steelers outside linebackers.
“I believe that Jason Worilds is champing at the bit to prove he is capable of being that,’’ Tomlin said. “When I first got to Pittsburgh in 2007, and we had to let go of Joey Porter, there was a guy that came in my office that was ready to prove that he was capable of 900-1,000 snaps a year. His name was James Harrison. We will see what Worilds is capable of doing.”
In this case, however, the issue may have more to do with money than anything else, since at one point the Steelers were attempting to bring Harrison back. But now that there’s been a couple of weeks to get used to life without No. 92, the team probably has come up with other ways to use the reported $5 million or so in cap space created by releasing Harrison.
Parise told the Post-Gazette on Monday that he “has a couple things going on” with some other NFL teams in regard to Harrison.
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