There is mutual interest between former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison and the Cincinnati Bengals. Harrison reportedly visited with the team on Thursday, but spent hours with Bengals linebackers coach Paul Guenther on Wednesday. Cincinnati likes what they hear and there are reports from people attending those meetings with Harrison saying that he still has "that mean look in his eye, that attitude."
NFL Insider Ian Rapoport with the NFL Network reported Friday that talks between Cincinnati and Harrison could "ramp up this weekend." And it appears that both sides are making significant progress.
According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Cincinnati Bengals and free agent linebacker James Harrison will try to finalize a deal this week.
Bengals and former Steelers LB James Harrison will try to complete a deal this week. Harrison more signable than Karlos Dansby at this time.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 14, 2013
According Ian Rapoport with the NFL Network, the plan was for the Bengals and Harrison to hammer out a contract on Sunday and finish the details on Monday.
Original plan was for #Bengals/James Harrison to meet Sunday to hammer out a contract. Now they'll meet Monday & work on contract/details— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 14, 2013
Harrison, an undrafted free agent out of Kent State in 2002, has spent his entire career with the Steelers to this point. He has made 617 tackles, 64 sacks, one safety and has intercepted five passes over the last 10 years and has been one of the top performers in the Steelers' top-notch defense year in and year out.
Harrison missed three games in 2012 after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in mid-August, which kept him out until Week Five. After a slow start, Harrison went on a second-half run, generating five quarterback sacks in eight games with 10 additional pressures on the quarterback.
Pittsburgh wanted to reduce Harrison's $10.035 million cap number and began negotiations in early March, but an agreement wasn't reached. The Steelers decided to save $5.105 million against the cap, releasing Harrison on March 9. Harrison was scheduled to earn $6.57 million in 2013 and another $7.575 million in 2014.