Negotiations between Steelers, Harrison at impasse
March 8, 2013 3:30 AM
James Harrison scores a touchdown after running back an interception for 100 yards in the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals during Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
Matt Freed /Post-Gazette
James Harrison at a Steelers practice in October.
By Ed Bouchette Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Negotiations between the Steelers and the agent for James Harrison continue but neither side has found anything to their liking on a new deal and the chance has increased that the star linebacker could be released soon.
Harrison, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 and a five-time Pro Bowler, has two years left on a contract that is scheduled to pay him a $6.57 million salary this season.
Bill Parise, Harrison's agent and a Beaver County resident, declined comment other than to say "We absolutely want to do this, we absolutely want to be in Pittsburgh."
The Steelers want him to take a pay cut, a source familiar with the negotiations said, but the sides cannot agree on just how that would work in a new deal. Harrison also has a salary for 2014 at $7,575,000. His salaries are not guaranteed.
The likely deadline for a decision one way or another on a new contract would be Tuesday because the NFL calendar year begins at 4 p.m. that day and the Steelers must be in salary cap compliance then, when free agency also starts.
Although hampered by August knee surgery that kept him out of the first three games last season, Harrison started at his right outside linebacker spot in the remaining 13 games and played better as the season went on and his knee grew stronger. He finished with six sacks, tying for the team lead.
Harrison, who turns 35 in two months, has led or tied the team in sacks in five of the six years since he replaced Joey Porter in 2007 as their starting right outside linebacker.