Ex-Steeler James Harrison signs with Cincinnati Bengals

The second game of the season just became more interesting for the Steelers. Already scheduled for Monday night in Cincinnati against their division rival, another log was thrown on that fire when former Steelers linebacker James Harrison signed with the Bengals.

Harrison came to terms with the Bengals Friday on a two-year contract, ending his free agent status after the Steelers released him March 9 when the two sides could not come to agreement on a paycut for the 2013 season.

Harrison was due to earn $6.57 million in salary from the Steelers in 2013. After a week of negotiations, Harrison declined to accept their final offer, which was about $3.7 million. No financial terms have been reported on his contract with the Bengals.

Fourth-year linebacker Jason Worilds is projected to take Harrison's old spot with the Steelers at right outside linebacker, where he earned five Pro Bowls and the NFL's defensive player of the year in 2008. The Steelers also are expected to choose at least one outside linebacker in the draft that will take place Thursday through next Saturday.

Harrison led the Steelers in five of the past six years in sacks in which he has been their starter at right outside linebacker in their 3-4 defense. That includes last season when he tied Lawrence Timmons for the lead with six. Harrison's 64 sacks rank fourth in Steelers history.

He will get an entirely different view of the defense in Cincinnati, where he is ticketed to play on the left side of their 4-3 formation.

Harrison turns 35 May 4.

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First Published April 20, 2013 12:15 PM


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