Harrison uncertain on future despite one year left on deal
January 18, 2016 12:00 AM
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talks with linebacker James Harrison at practice last week on the South Side.
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
DENVER — James Harrison sat at his locker, his eyes red, his voice choking and barely above his whisper.
He had just played one of his best games of the season, stuffing three run plays for a loss and registering the only sack on Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
But Harrison took deep breaths and fought back tears because he isn’t sure if the 23-16 defeat to the Broncos was the final game he will play with the Steelers.
Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac talk about the Steelers loss to the Broncos
Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac talk about the Steelers loss to the Broncos. (Video by Peter Diana 1/17/2016)
“It’s a little tougher for me because I’m in a situation where I’m a little uncertain about what I’m going to do,” Harrison said. “I can’t say that [was my final game] right now, I wouldn’t be comfortable saying that.”
Harrison, who has another year left on his contract, said last week he would like to return for the 2016 season. But as he sat at his locker, he said, “Me wanting to come back and me coming back are two different things.”
Then he added, “I’m 37 years old, I’ll be 38 [in May]. It’s not as easy as I would hope.”
Harrison, the 2008 NFL defensive player of the year who was named to five consecutive Pro Bowls from 2007-11, will go down as one of the best big-play linebackers in franchise history. His 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII against the Arizona Cardinals ranks as one of the greatest individual plays in Super Bowl history.
Harrison was hoping he would get another chance at a Super Bowl, but the Broncos dashed that hope with a touchdown and field goal in the final three minutes.
“They played better than we did,” Harrison said. “They finished the game out, we didn’t. They played better than we did in the fourth quarter, all sides — offense, defense and special teams.”
Gerry Dulac: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @gerrydulac.
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