Ten-year linebacker James Harrison has come out of retirement to help a depleted Steelers defensive corps.
The Steelers began the 2014 season with Jarvis Jones and Ryan Shazier manning the linebacker position. But injuries have forced the Steelers to get creative, which meant coaxing Harrison back to the field. Jones suffered a broken wrist last week against the Panthers and will miss at least eight weeks. Shazier will sit out at least one game with a sprained right knee.
Coach Mike Tomlin said is unsure of Harrison’s role with the team right now, despite the little depth the team has.
“We need to see what he is capable of doing before we etch out any roles for him or others,” Tomlin said.
Harrison had a strong nine-year career with the Steelers, averaging at least nine sacks per season from 2008-2011. After recording 67 tackles and 16 sacks in 2008, the linebacker was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
But last year, Harrison joined the Bengals after he refused to take a pay cut with the Steelers. He recorded two sacks and 16 total tackles in a limited role. Tomlin said he isn’t concerned about how Harrison played with the Bengals and wants to see what the linebacker can bring to the table in 2014 with Pittsburgh.
“I don’t care about what he did in Cincinnati or what their schematics are,” Tomlin said. “I’ll base my judgments based off of his capabilities based on what I see back in this setting among us.”