Steelers Cut James Harrison

Updated: March 10, 2013

In an effort to clear salary cap space, the Pittsburgh Steelers cut linebacker James Harrison yesterday.

Harrison, 34,  has been known as one of the most dangerous linebackers in the game over the last few years. The linebacker has totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and penalties due to his numerous legal and illegal hits on opposing players.

But over the last five years, Harrison’s numbers have declined. In 2008, Harrison totaled 16 sacks in 15 games. In 2010, the linebacker finished with 10.5 sacks in 16 games. But this past season, Harrison finished with 6 sacks in 13 games.

During the prime of his career, Harrison was extremely successful. The linebacker told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that he thinks it was because he played for a successful team that ran a 3-4 defense.

“I want to try and stay in the scheme that I’m in — in a 3-4 defense,” he said. “You have a choice in picking the team but it still depends on the circumstances around that team.”

ESPN also reported that in recent days, the Steelers and Harrison’s agent, Bill Parise, have tried to work out a new deal for the linebacker. Harrison still had two years left on the $51 million dollar deal that he signed in 2009.

But by cutting Harrison, Pittsburgh creates $5.105 million dollars in cap space.

In a statement that ESPN reported, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said: “James has been an integral part of our success during his years in Pittsburgh and has helped us win two Lombardi trophies during that time.”

Harrison was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2002 by Pittsburgh. The linebacker didn’t truly make the team until 2004. From that season on, Harrison was named to the pro-bowl five times, four All-Pro teams, won two Super Bowls, and was named the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2008.

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