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Steelers, Harrison talking contract restructuring

| Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 6:27 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
Steelers linebacker James Harrison plays against the Browns in December 2012 at Heinz Field.
Steelers linebacker James Harrison is a five-time Pro Bowl selection and was selected as the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2008. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review

The Steelers want five-time Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison to return in 2013 and are attempting to restructure his contract to reduce his $10,035,00 salary cap hit.

Harrison's agent, Bill Parise, wouldn't say Tuesday whether the Steelers want Harrison to take a pay cut.

“I really don't want to talk about negotiations in the media. I don't think that helps anybody,” Parise said. “But I can tell you that we're all getting along. We're doing fine. We're working.”

There has been speculation the Steelers might cut Harrison — who will be 35 in May — after a shortened 2012 season in which a left knee injury limited his effectiveness until November.

“The Steelers have made it clear to me they want James to stay, and James and I have made it very clear that he wants to be a Steeler,” Parise said. “So we're working to try to make that happen.”

The Steelers could reduce the cap hit by adding an extra year onto Harrison's contract, which runs through 2014, and shifting some of his salary into a prorated signing bonus.

Harrison is due to make $6.57 million in 2013 and $7,575,000 in 2014, with a salary cap hit of $9,040,000 that season.

Parise wouldn't predict when an agreement might be worked out but said, “We are talking. We've been working pretty hard.”

Parise told the Tribune-Review two weeks ago that he expected the Steelers to contact him about a restructuring and that Harrison was willing to help them address their cap issues.

The Steelers recently restructured the contracts of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Lawrence Timmons to help get them under the salary cap in advance of the March 12 deadline.

Despite missing the first three games of the season following left knee surgery in mid-August, Harrison had six sacks and graded 10th among outside linebackers in Pro Football Focus' player analysis.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com via Twitter arobinson_Trib.

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