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Former Steelers linebacker Harrison retires

| Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, 11:39 a.m.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
Steelers linebacker James Harrison plays against the Browns in December 2012 at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner
Steelers linebacker James Harrison leaves the field after the Steelers defeated the Browns on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, at Heinz Field.

James Harrison won't be returning to the Steelers.

Actually, the former defensive player of the year won't be playing anywhere anymore.

Harrison, 36, retired after 10 years in the NFL on Saturday. He made the announcement on his Facebook page.

“I have made the difficult decision to retire as of today,” Harrison said. “My love for my family and the need to be there for them outweighs my desire to play the game. I have missed too many experiences with them because I devoted so much time to my career.”

Harrison met with the Arizona Cardinals earlier in the week, but the two sides weren't able to come to a financial agreement.

“My love for the game isn't strong enough to make up for missing one more birthday or first day of school,” Harrison said. “I am retiring as a man who is truly grateful for all of his blessings.

“I am sincerely thankful to the people who have supported me over the years, first and foremost my family, the Rooney family and my Steeler family, also (Bengals owner Mike Brown), the Bengals organization and fans, and last, but far from least, SteelersNation. Thank you.”

Harrison, who made five Pro Bowls, went undrafted out of Kent State in 2002 and spent two years on and off the Steelers' practice squad. Harrison was signed by the Ravens at the end of the 2003 season before playing in NFL Europe for a year.

Harrison returned to the Steelers as mostly a special teams player until replacing Joey Porter in 2007 at right outside linebacker. Harrison started 105 games for the Steelers and finished with 66 sacks.

Harrison was named AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 in helping the Steelers to a Super Bowl XLIII win over Arizona in which he made one of the most memorable plays in NFL history with a game-altering 100-yard interception return.

Harrison played the 2013 season for the Bengals, but he had only two sacks. Harrison was released in March.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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