James Harrison left the Steelers facility before practice began Wednesday in street clothes. Tuesday he had finished only his second full practice of the year. Harrison has been having knee issues since Training Camp when he was put on the PUP list and went off for a knee scope on August 15th. Since then it seems to have been one setback after another. If he has a good day, it’s followed by a day of swelling. Even with the Steelers having the next four days off for their bye week before their next practice, things are not looking good for 92 to return in time for the Eagles. After spending the whole offseason hoping his back would heal properly, now Steeler Nation is worried about the knee that just won’t stop swelling. Will James Harrison play for the Steelers this season?
As I’ve stated many times before, I’m a fan of defense. I’ll take a sack/fumble over a 30 yard completion any day of the week and especially twice on Sundays. The way James Harrison plays the game, although often misunderstood as a dirty player, is beautiful to watch. Harrison is just one of the latest in a long standing tradition of intimidating linebackers in Steelers history, but we’ve rarely seen him in action lately. Harrison missed 5 games last year and has yet to suit up for a game so far this season.
In the NFL everything is an overreaction and you’re only as good as your last game. That being said, Steeler Nation is collectively hitting the panic button on the defense considering the 13 unanswered points the Raiders scored on them in the 4th quarter of last Sunday’s disappointing loss. Aside from the running game not producing a whole lot yet, the offense seems to be clicking pretty well considering they’re all adjusting to an entirely new offensive scheme. The defense, on the other hand, is about as inconsistent as you can get after three games played. With still being ranked among the top 10 in yards and passing yards allowed, they’re right about in the middle of the teams with points and rushing yards allowed. The defense has just 5 sacks and forced 2 turnovers and has even been called “predictable”.
James Harrison was made to be a Steelers linebacker. He’s mean, he’s intimidating, he hits hard and he’s not sorry for it. He’s also great to his fans and a very entertaining follow on Facebook and Twitter. To think the defense isn’t missing his presence is silly. The pass rush by Harrison and Woodley allows the secondary to do a better job preventing those “splash plays” none of us like to see the opposition get. The biggest reason why Steeler Nation is hurting from the absence of Harrison is the fact that so far his “next man up” Chris Carter, hasn’t made that big of an impression yet. Especially at the linebacker position, the “next man up” has always been able to step in and make an impact. When we all thought we’d never get over the loss of Greg Lloyd, enter Joey Porter. When we thought letting Joey Porter go was a bit premature, James Harrison was there. At this point, Chris Carter isn’t making us not miss Harrison any less at all.
I’m not sure what’s up with James Harrison and his knee this season. His agent this week explained he had yet another setback. Maybe Harrison himself will break the news via Facebook or Twitter video as he did with Mike Wallace’s first interview after returning from his holdout. I’d like to see him back out on the field but I’m starting to worry considering he keeps having these setbacks just after practices, let alone going through the speed and physicality of an entire game. What are your thoughts, Steeler Nation? Do you think we’ll see 92 on the field this season?
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