And the cities of Cincinnati, Baltimore and Cleveland all breathed a sigh of relief. According to multiple reports, the Steelers released longtime outside linebacker/defensive end James Harrison on Saturday. The move was somewhat expected as the two sides had been working on a contract re-structuring, but couldn't come to an agreement. The 35-year old will now be able to dive into the free agent market. It's a move that will save the Steelers $5.15 million against the salary cap.
Harrison first latched onto the Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2002 and completed his 11-year career with five Pro Bowl berths, four All-Pro designations, and two Super Bowl rings (and a partridge in a...). He was also named The Associated Press' Defensive Player of the year in 2008. Perhaps the moment that everyone will remember Harrison for is the play in Super Bowl XLIII where he returned an end-of-the-half interception 100 yards for a touchdown. The play was ultimately the difference in the game (re-watch that play and check out the hustle from one Larry Darnell Fitzgerald, Jr., by the way).
It's unclear where Harrison will land on his feet, but it likely won't be back in Pittsburgh, as they want him at a price that he doesn't want to be had at. Harrison follows the path of a similar Steelers player he supplanted in Joey Porter and we will have to see if he goes the one or two-year rental route for some clubs. It might have to be the case because of his age.
In case you're the sappy type, we'll leave you with words from Harrison himself: