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James Harrison announces retirement

The former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker spent 328 days in a Bengals uniform, failing to play up to averages and reputation, largely because he transitioned into a new role in Cincinnati.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

It didn't last very long.

On April 19, 2013, the Bengals signed James Harrison to a two-year deal worth $4.45 million. However, 328 days later, the Bengals released Harrison, saving $1.434 million, and sending Debo into obscurity... until late last week when Harrison reportedly visited with the Arizona Cardinals (aka, retread AFC North players). Leaving without an agreement, Harrison announced his retirement on Facebook.

I have made the difficult decision to retire as of today. My love for my family and the need to be there for them outweighs my desire to play the game. I have missed too many experiences with them because I devoted SO much time to my career. My love for the game isn't strong enough to make up for missing one more birthday or first day of school. I am retiring as a man who is truly grateful for all of his blessings. I am sincerely thankful to the people who have supported me over the years, first and foremost my family, the Rooney family and my Steeler family, also Mr. Brown, the Bengals organization and fans, and last but FAR from least, Steeler Nation. Thank you.

Pittsburgh wanted to reduce Harrison's $10.035 million cap number and began negotiations in early March '13, 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.

Harrison will finish his career with 66 quarterback sacks, six interceptions, 29 forced fumbles, and a safety. When he signed in Cincinnati, Harrison was really a shell of himself with only two sacks and an interception... on the other hand, the Bengals forced him to play as a traditional 4-3 linebacker rather than the pass-rushing 3-4 backer that he was accustomed to in Pittsburgh.

If James Harrison is enshrined into the Hall of Fame, he'll most likely go in as a Pittsburgh Steelers player. We can't imagine that his one season in Cincinnati was significant enough to compel him to go in as a Bengals player. While Anthony Munoz is the team's only Hall of Fame representing Cincinnati in Canton, he's not the only former player (or coach) that's in the Hall of Fame who has spent time as a Bengal. Joining Munoz is wide receiver Charlie Joiner, who was part of the potent Air Coryell offense in San Diego. Joiner played four seasons with the Bengals before he was traded to San Diego. Then there's Paul Brown, who is one of the game's innovators with a tremendous coaching career in Cleveland, and gave rise to the Cincinnati Bengals in the late 60s.