Former Steelers linebacker Harrison misses on Ravens chance
March 26, 2013 12:00 PM
James Harrison, left, playing against the Seahawks in 2011.
By Ed Bouchette Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
James Harrison lost out on his bid to sign with the Baltimore Ravens for the second time in his career and now will turn his attention to what his agent said are other opportunities.
Harrison, a five-time Pro Bowl linebacker who has spent all nine of his seasons with the Steelers, "has a couple things going on," according to agent Bill Parise. He declined to say which teams have interest in Harrison but apparently one of them is not the Steelers, who released him March 9 after the sides could not agree on how much of a pay cut he would take to stay.
Harrison might have signed Monday with the Ravens except for one small detail -- Baltimore signed defensive end Elvis Dumervil on Sunday.
Harrison, who signed with the Ravens in 2003 but was released before camp, was in Baltimore and was scheduled to have a physical by Monday morning with the Ravens.
"It changed," Parise said.
The Ravens and Denver Broncos, Dumervil's former team, each were negotiating with him and the smart money was on Denver re-signing him.
"We knew Baltimore offered Dumervil a contract, but it looked like he wasn't going to take it," Parise said. "We knew Dumervil was in the mix when James went down there. But the Ravens and I both felt [Dumervil signing in Baltimore] was not going to happen."
It did happen, however, when Dumervil accepted Baltimore's contract that included a $7.5 million signing bonus and a $1 million salary in 2013, trumping Denver's offer of $8 million in 2013.
In the meantime, the Steelers reportedly have interest in former Indianapolis Colts defensive end/linebacker Dwight Freeney, as do the Broncos. At 33, he is two years younger than Harrison and until last season was a defensive end in a 4-3 defense. When Indianapolis switched to a 3-4 last season, Freeney's conversion to outside linebacker did not go well.
He played in 14 games for the Colts in 2012, with 13 starts. He had 5 sacks, 10 tackles, 1 assists, 1 pass defensed and 1 forced fumble. He also had an ankle injury.
Harrison started all 13 games in which he played after overcoming knee surgery. He had 6 sacks, 49 tackles, 21 assists and 2 forced fumbles.
Former Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw, 27, said over the weekend that the Steelers are among three teams who have shown interest in him. He has averaged 4.6 yards per carry in his career. He battled a foot injury last season but still went surpassed 1,000 yards with the Giants. He had surgery on the foot and has not worked out for teams yet.
"There are a lot of teams out there, but there are a couple teams that are interested, so I've heard," Bradshaw said on ESPN Radio. "Pittsburgh, the Jets and the Packers, which are teams that I feel like need a running back, that I could help. Like I said, it's a process. I just want to take it slow."
Bradshaw, 27, averages 4.6 yards per carry in his career.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said last week at the NFL meetings that the Steelers are in the market for a running back.
"Obviously we need to add to the pool of talent that we have at that position."
The Steelers have Jonathan Dwyer under a one-year contract he signed as a restricted free agent. Isaac Redman is a RFA and Baron Batch will remain with the Steelers as an exclusive rights free agent. They also have fullback Will Johnson under contract, and resigned fullback-tight end David Johnson.