When James Harrison‘s agent suggested back in February that he expected his client to return to the Steelers in 2016, the veteran linebacker himself cautioned that he had yet to make any decisions. But two and a half months later, it seems Harrison has made up his mind.
On his Instagram account today, Harrison published a photo of himself with the caption “I’m back.” Within the post itself, the Steelers linebacker wrote: “I’ll be 38 on Wednesday and I’m feeling just like a fine wine. Getting better with age.”
Harrison, who will be the NFL’s oldest defensive player in 2016, had been expected to return. He’s under contract through the 2016 season, and in addition to agent Bill Parise expressing optimism about Harrison continuing his career, GM Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin indicated this weekend that they anticipated another year from their stalwart linebacker. “He’s working out awful hard for a ‘retired’ guy,” Tomlin said.
In spite of his age, Harrison remains a solid contributor on defense. Last season, the former undrafted free agent logged 40 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception. Pro Football Focus ranked him 14th out of 110 qualified edge defenders, assigning him strong grades as both a run defender and pass rusher.
The Steelers have Harrison on their books for 2016 for an affordable $1.25MM base salary and $1.5MM cap hit.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.