Following an up-and-down 2013 season with the Bengals, veteran linebacker James Harrison looked like he was on his way to retirement. However, he changed course when an opportunity arose to rejoin the Steelers, and in his last two seasons, Harrison has been an effective part-time player for the club, most recently racking up three sacks against the Colts on Sunday night.
There aren’t many NFL players born in the 1970s who are still active, and it’s possible that this year could be Harrison’s latest. However, the 37-year-old doesn’t sound ready to call it a career quite yet, as Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes.
“You know, I still got another year on the contract,” Harrison said. “So we will play this year out; I’m not even thinking about that at this point to be honest with you. I can’t think any further ahead than the next game. We’re right now in a situation where we have to.”
As Harrison and the Steelers prepare for an AFC North showdown against the Bengals, and attempt to continue their push for a playoff spot, let’s check in on the latest out of the division:
- While head coach Mike Pettine wouldn’t go so far as to say that the Browns will have a zero-tolerance policy for Johnny Manziel going forward, he did admit that repercussions would likely be harsh if the quarterback has another off-field incident (Twitter link via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal).
- In his examination of the NFL’s most underpaid extension-eligible players, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com identifies Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, Browns tight end Gary Barnidge, and Ravens guard Kelechi Osemele as a few AFC North players who fit the bill. Barnidge and Osemele are headed for unrestricted free agency, and Brown could very well get an extension from Pittsburgh this offseason, so I don’t expect the trio to remain underpaid for long.
- Veteran running back DeAngelo Williams has been excellent in an increased role for the Steelers, having averaged 137.2 yards from scrimmage over his last five games. As Corry observes (via Twitter), Williams’ performance not only helps Pittsburgh win now — it also provides the team some leverage in upcoming extension negotiations with starting running back Le’Veon Bell, who will be entering a contract year in 2016.