Harrison (left) with coach Mike Tomlin. (Credit: zimbio.com)
Yesterday, it was reported that former Steelers linebacker James Harrison was seeking a possible return to Pittsburgh.
Not even a full 24 hours has passed since Harrison’s agent said the door is open for a return to the Steelers, and the organization is already putting the kibosh on those chances. Although the Steelers lack some depth at outside linebacker, Head Coach Mike Tomlin indicated that the team is looking to get younger on defense, and that will begin with the 25 year old Jason Worilds replacing Harrison in the starting lineup. Harrison hasn’t had a successful tour in free agency, missing out on a job with the Ravens and now being told his former team isn’t looking to bring him back.
Pittsburgh is making the move to get younger on defense, and parting ways with Harrison has a lot to do with the team’s plans for Jason Worilds. The 2009 second-round pick was lodged behind Harrison and LaMarr Woodley in the lineup last season, but coach Mike Tomlin hinted last week that Worilds represents a changing of the guard.
“I believe that Jason Worilds is champing at the bit to prove he is capable of being that,” Tomlin told Bouchette at the NFL Annual Meeting. “When I first got to Pittsburgh in 2007, and we had to let go of Joey Porter, there was a guy that came in my office that was ready to prove that he was capable of 900 to 1,000 snaps a year. His name was James Harrison. We will see what Worilds is capable of doing.”
There are still some teams out there who could benefit from taking a flyer on Harrison, but he’s struggled to stay healthy and produce at a high level the last two seasons. With a return to the Steelers now highly unlikely, it will be interesting to see where Harrison ends up.