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Steelers linebacker Harrison tunes technique

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Steelers Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison has 38.5 career sacks. He was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 and then was rewarded with a contract worth as much as $51.175 million.

Still, Harrison, who turned 32 this month, is trying to improve as a pass-rusher. Following Thursday's final voluntary practice of the week, Harrison returned to the field and spent a few minutes working with defensive assistant and former Steelers linebacker Jerry Olsavsky.

"Every year you've got to get better,'' said Harrison, whose sack total dipped from a career-best 16 in 2008 to 10 last season.

Harrison watched as Olsavsky, a former Pitt standout who played with the Steelers from 1989-97, displayed hand placement for use in different pass-rushing techniques. Harrison repeated those movements a few times, attempting to get comfortable with them.

A power rusher who uses ox-cart strength to gain leverage against taller offensive linemen, Harrison said he isn't averse to developing new ways to get to the quarterback.

"(Olsavsky) wants me to try a little something different, so I came out to try it on the bag,'' he said. "When next week comes around, I'll try it in actual practice.''

The Steelers resume voluntary practices Tuesday.

"It feels a little awkward,'' Harrison said. "But everything you start doing feels a little awkward until you get used to it.''

Harrison said he's focusing on the little things.

"Just learning a different technique to try and beat the guy who's in front of you,'' he said. "If you don't get better, then you're getting worse.''

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