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James Harrison released by Steelers

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01:18 PM ET 03.09 | The Steelers have released James Harrison, a five-time Pro Bowl selection and 2008 Defensive Player of the Year, in a salary cap move just before the start of free agency. Harrison was owed $6.57 million this season, and with the cap-strapped Steelers looking to get younger, Harrison was more of a luxury than a necessity. It almost didn't end this way, though. Reports indicated the two sides met through Friday in an effort to work out a deal for the 2013 season, but it wasn't to be. Harrison was undrafted out of Kent State University in 2002, and was released by both Pittsburgh and Baltimore before ending up back with the Steelers in 2004 due to an injury to outside linebacker Clark Haggans.

James Harrison

, Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Comment #1 has been removed
March 9, 2013  01:28 PM ET

Stunned, I say.

March 9, 2013  01:31 PM ET

Ray Lewis's replacement??????

Comment #4 has been removed
March 9, 2013  02:15 PM ET

Another thug bites the dust.

March 9, 2013  02:16 PM ET
QUOTE(#3):

Ray Lewis's replacement??????

That would a good strategic move by the Ravens if only for a year.

Comment #7 has been removed
March 9, 2013  03:27 PM ET

I can't believe it, looks like it could be a long season next year....they typically do this when they have someone waiting to step in, but there is no one that looks ready...

Comment #9 has been removed
March 10, 2013  01:28 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

That would a good strategic move by the Ravens if only for a year.

Except that Harrison is an OLB and Ray was an ILB.

March 10, 2013  01:31 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

I'm a Steeler fan and I've said this for YEARS now ...The Steelers need to focus on getting better corner backs and and safeties (guys who can actually cover someone for more than 3 seconds a snap) for their secondary and stop relying on pass rushers to compensate for them.You know ... maybe draft DBs earlier and pass rushers later for a few years?Now what are the Steelers gonna do?Their secondary is so bad that they had to (again) go re-sign someone who they previously didn't think was worth keeping (Gay) to "improve" it. How did that work out with McFadden?It didn't.And now your pass rush is going to (more than likely) be worse now which is going to put even more pressure on your DBs that already tend to give up huge chunks of yards in the biggest games of the season.Niiice!Why do you think when the opposing team has one last drive left they A-L-W-A-Y-S spread the Steelers out and try to throw their way right down the field (see Flacco, Tebow, etc) to the end zone before time expires?This is what happens when you choose to live or die by your pass rush year after year instead of upgrading positions in an area that you know is a weakness, that you know has been a weakness, and that every team you face on your schedule knows is a weakness - a weakness that your blitz packages are designed to try and "cover".You leave yourselves no room for error - especially repetitive error.Good luck with Carter or Worilds or whoever else they'll now draft to upgrade the linebacker position while they'll again ... do it the "Steelers Way" ... and just take whoever nobody else wanted in rounds six and seven for that secondary!And if Polamalu gets hurt this year (which history shows he probably will), the Steelers might as well just forfeit the games and stay home.The poor drafting of pass rushers + the blatant disregard for their secondary = second or third place in their division for the next few years.And they have nobody to blame but themselves!

Having the number 1 pass D in the league last year says your statement doesn't hold any water.

Comment #12 has been removed
March 10, 2013  07:35 AM ET

Next year he's going to be in full-on beast mode. Some team is going to be very, very happy because Harrison's gonna want to prove to the Steelers that they made a big mistake saying he wasn't worth six and a half mil.

And he knows he doesn't have long left in the league, maybe another two or three years tops, he can't afford to give money away.

March 10, 2013  08:51 AM ET
QUOTE(#12):

My statement holds water just fine unless of course you didn't see all the games over the past few years where the secondary gave up the lead and lost the game on the last drive.Did having the #1 pass D in the league help in those games?Did it help when they let Flacco take the Ravens 90-something yards down the field to lose the game?Did it help when Tebow lit them up and threw a TD on the very first play in overtime?Well? A simple "yes" or "no" to the questions above will do just fine.I don't see your "number 1 pass D in the league" statement holding any water here ...But thanks in advance for calling me out on this one!

You're Welcome!!!

Absolutes are rarely accurate. It's a team game and late fourth quarter collapses are hardly all the fault of the secondary! How about putting some blame on the front seven for a lack of pressure or the offense for being unable to run the ball or the clock out. And, being on the wrong side of the turnover ratio didn't help much either.

March 10, 2013  08:53 AM ET
QUOTE(#14):

You're Welcome!!!Absolutes are rarely accurate. It's a team game and late fourth quarter collapses are hardly all the fault of the secondary! How about putting some blame on the front seven for a lack of pressure or the offense for being unable to run the ball or the clock out. And, being on the wrong side of the turnover ratio didn't help *much either.

*at all either

Comment #16 has been removed
 
March 11, 2013  12:45 PM ET
QUOTE(#16):

It's the secondary's job to NOT let the other team march down the field and score on the very last drive.And if you're the "number 1 pass D", you should be able to do that job.

It's the D's job not just the secondary's but the whole D, all 11 players. There was a lack of pressure on opposing QBs especially late in games, a lack of turnovers and a lack of splash plays last season and that is on the whole D not just DBs. In Lebeau's scheme LBs and DL often drop back in coverage, how many times did we see Foote trailing a WR, TE or RB after a big 3rd down catch for a 1st down. Way too many! How is that the DBs fault?????? The Steelers had a problem getting off the field on 3rd downs especially late in games last season and that was the fault of the whole D not just the secondary!

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