James Harrison said at the end of the 2016 season that he wanted to come back and play another year or two, and on Wednesday his return was secured when he signed a two-year deal that will keep him with the Steelers through the 2018 season.
Just before Hines Ward began to address the gathered media on this March day four years ago, he looked to the back of the room where James Harrison, Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel and Jerome Bettis were sitting.
Harrison, who joined the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2002, retired in 2014, but quickly came out of retirement not long after when the Steelers were hit with injuries. Playing over the last few years has given his two sons, James and Henry, a better opportunity to understand what his dad does, something he enjoys.
“It’s special to bring them down for the Saturday walk through, things like that,” said Harrison. “That is something I don’t believe you get to do everywhere. I don’t think teams are open to that. It shows the family mindset the Steelers have.”
Greene said that Harrison would have fit in perfectly with the players from the 1970s, and he loves that he brings that same approach to today’s team, serving as a perfect example of where hard work can land you.
I had always thought Ryan Shazier would be a great safety. He reminds me of another great, Troy Polamalu, flying around making plays. If the Steelers made the change, this could help him with the injuries by freeing him more and keeping him from having to take on those huge offensive linemen first. Any thoughts?
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Steelers CB William Gay donned the number 43 on the practice field in tribute to Troy Polamalu.
Anyway, I have offered the opinion that the Steelers have done a pretty nice job of transitioning from a veteran team that won a lot of games and a couple of Lombardis to a team that’s looking like it can be capable of competing for more championships, and they have done this over a relatively short period of time and with no losing seasons. After finishing 12-4 in 2011, the Steelers were facing the reality of having to replace Aaron Smith, James Farrior, Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu jersey, and Brett Keisel either immediately or in the near future; they had to rebuild an offensive line that had become a liability to Ben Roethlisberger’s professional health. The 2016 season is the fifth one since that undertaking had to begin, and in the previous four the Steelers were 8-8 twice, 11-5 division winners once, and a 10-6 Wild Card participant once. In 2015, the injuries to Le’Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams, and Antonio Brown left the offense gravely shorthanded in the AFC Divisional Round Game in Denver against a Broncos team the Steelers had defeated, 34-27, a month earlier. Today, the Steelers are a win over the Ravens away from clinching the AFC North Division title.
“I have some of these guy’s jerseys I am out here playing with. It was cool to put this helmet on for the first time. It’s fun.”
As fun as it is, he knows there is a lot of work ahead of him. Lang already missed the first two weeks of OTAs, as well as the early stages of the offseason program, but he is ready to work to make up for lost time.