Ex-Steeler Harrison signs with Bengals
James Harrison is leaving Pittsburgh, but he's not going far. Ben Roethlisberger might be hearing his footsteps already.
Harrison, the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker cut by the Steelers on March 9 after the sides couldn't settle on a reworked contract, signed a two-year deal Friday with the AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals.
“Whodey!!!!!!!!! Hello Cincinnati!!!!” Harrison posted on Twitter.
The Steelers and their old teammate won't wait long to see each other. The Steelers play a Monday night game in Cincinnati on Sept. 16 during the second weekend of the season. Harrison returns to Pittsburgh on Dec. 15 for the first time as a visiting player.
“It was a goal of ours all along,” Harrison's agent, Bill Parise, said of staying in the AFC North. “It's going to work out fine. We're ready to move on.”
There were various media reports earlier in the week that Harrison and the Bengals weren't close in contract talks. Asked if Harrison was happy with the contract, Parise said, “There wouldn't be a deal if he wasn't happy.”
The Bengals apparently chose Harrison over former Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby, who is familiar playing in a 4-3 defense like Cincinnati plays. Harrison always has played in the Steelers' 3-4 defense, but Parise said he is looking forward to playing for Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, a former Steelers assistant whose schemes are familiar to the Steelers'.
Harrison and Dansby visited Cincinnati last week as the Bengals sought to replace outside linebacker Manny Lawson, who signed with the Bills.
The Steelers wanted to keep Harrison but at a price considerably lower than the $6.57 million he was set to make in the next-to-last year of his contract. Harrison balked, then needed nearly a month and a half to find a new team.
“James felt it was inevitable that he was going to sign some place,” Parise said.
Since Harrison became a regular in 2007, after being cut four times, his 60 sacks are the fourth most in the NFL. He had six sacks during his final, injury-shortened season with Pittsburgh in 2012.
Harrison had 16 sacks while winning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2008, when he had a record 100-yard interception return touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl.
The Steelers finished No. 1 in the league defensively in four of Harrison's six seasons as a starter.
The Ravens were interested in Harrison but chose to sign former Broncos linebacker Elvis Dumervil.
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers offensive linemen looking to build on strong 2013 finish
- Steelers linebacker Spence confident he can avoid injury setbacks
- Steelers hoping that youth movement breathes life into team
- Inside the ropes: Shazier shows off speed
- Steelers notebook: Team hasn’t called on Keisel, Harrison yet
- GM Colbert expects Roethlisberger to end career with Steelers
- Steelers hope group of low-budget cornerbacks can deliver
- Inside the ropes: Speedy rookie Archer dazzles at 1st training camp practice
- Steelers notebook: Ben believes rookie WR Bryant can contribute
- Inside the ropes: Roethlisberger may have his big receiver
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin sees ‘good communication’ with WRs on 1st day