Steeler Nation might be feeling good about the inside linebacker core after seeing some snippets and hearing word out of the Pittsburgh Steelers OTA’s that first round draft pick Ryan Shazier is fitting in nicely with the first team reps. What I think some might forget about is that the outside core is still thin and one injury away from being the achilles of this defense. However, there is one man waiting in the wings who could be a difference maker from the bench.
I’m talking about former Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison. And, by ‘waiting’ I mean he’s working out like crazy – getting stronger and staying primed for the NFL. Check out this video that Harrison posted on Instagram and linked it via Twitter on Wednesday night.
— James Harrison (@jharrison9292) June 26, 2014
That’s 1200 lbs. Twelve. Hundred. One Thousand Two Hundred Pounds. That’s like taking three tigers (avg 400lbs each), stacking them on top of each other, and James Harrison leg presses them. All the while he’s like, “I got this, bro.”
The outside linebacker core for the Steelers is thin thin thin. Assuming that Jarvis Jones continues to improve and can become a viable edge pass rusher (fingers crossed), that leaves Worilds on the other side, who hopefully will not have a Troy Polamalu-like season with this nagging calf injury. Who’s behind them? Chris Carter, Arthur Moates, Joran Zumwait (R), and some other special team’ers. Oh joy.
Look I don’t know what transpired between Harrison and the Steelers a season ago when they were trying to settle on a contract that would work for both sides. Seems like pride on both sides got in the way, and Harrison signed with the rival Bungles instead. Harrison has said that he wants to return to the Steelers. He knows the system like the back of his hand. He knows the majority of the players on the squad still. He has a good report with all of them from what we can tell – especially Antonio Brown.
There may just be enough gas in the tank for this guy to be a very suitable backup for the Steelers. I can understand why the Steelers haven’t yet (and probably won’t) sign a guy like Keisel based on the draft, FA pickups, and Keisel’s decline. I get it even though he would be a suitable backup too. But, here we have Harrison who appears to be one step shy of being desperate and pleading his case to Steelers brass and fans that he’s certainly ready to come back. All he’s short of doing is a commercial spot with Steely McBeam for some used car lot, and he’s probably come full circle. He’s paid his penance. He had to play for the Bungles for Christ’s sake.
The Steelers are done working together as a team until they meet for training camp starting July 25th. Plenty of time left to get him over to the South Side and ink a contract. According to overthecap.com, the team has spent roughly $116 million on the Top 51. That leaves them with $6 million still in the bank to spend on free agents or other contract extensions. They can sign him for a cool million, which would be just over the vet minimum with his experience.
So could you guys just get together and work something out already?! Yoi.
Here We Go.