Tuesday, January 31, 2017

James Harrison removes drama, wants to wreak havoc in 2017

Jeremy FowlerESPN Staff Writerhttp://www.espn.com/blog/pittsburgh-steelersJanuary 30, 2017
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PITTSBURGH -- As if it wasn't enough for James Harrison to tell reporters "I'm not done" after the AFC title game loss to the New England Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers pass-rusher doubled down last week on social media.
"38 years old and coming back for more," said Harrison on Instagram, a message accompanied with an action shot above the "I'm not done" quote.
This isn't a formal declaration that Harrison will play in 2017, but he sure sounds like a man ready to tackle a 15th NFL season.
And Pittsburgh is still the most sensible team for the pending free agent.
It's hard to blame him for returning. Harrison was on a late-season tear with 7.5 sacks in his last 11 games. His combination of skill and power showed up in playoff matchups against the Miami Dolphins' Brandon Albert and the Kansas City ChiefsEric Fisher. In a 36-17 loss to New England, Harrison didn't record a sack but was also asked to drop into coverage often.
Pro Football Focus says Harrison is "still a one-man wrecking crew," and that's a year after PFF labeled Harrison the seventh-best pass-rusher from the 3-4 outside linebacker spot.
With Jarvis Jones unlikely to return, pass-rusher seems like a logical positional target in the first few rounds of the Steelers' draft. But with Harrison, the team can enjoy starter-caliber production while it takes another year to stabilize the future opposite linebacker Bud Dupree.
Perhaps Harrison could re-unite with Dick LeBeau in Tennessee or consider all options, but he's a Steelers great, and Steelers greats typically like finishing their careers in Pittsburgh.
Even Dupree, when asked about the defense improving in 2017, cited the need to "get 'Deebo' back."
"I think we are all not surprised by what he was able to do, because he is James," coach Mike Tomlin said. "But we were pleased with what he was able to do and provide us with. We are open to that discussion for sure."
And here's the crazy thing: Considering the production, Harrison's $1.25-million salary was a serious bargain last season. He might ask the Steelers to sweeten that deal.
Just in time for his 39th birthday in May.

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