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Coming off an impressive NFL preseason run, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie TJ Watt will reportedly start over former Pro Bowler James Harrison at outside linebacker opposite second-year player Bud Dupree.

Steelers outside linebackers coach Joey Porter confirmed that the 39-year-old Harrison, his former teammate, will serve in a “relief pitcher” type of role and will neither start nor get extended playing time at outside linebacker, via Post-Gazette.

“We have two guys who are first-rounders, we drafted them for this,” Porter said. “Now you have to turn them loose and let them play.”

Pittsburgh has had a rotation of right outside linebackers in recent years, as Porter explained that the franchise lacked someone “who it was just theirs and you knew it was theirs” while Harrison continued to age. The Steelers were forced to “rotate them just to try to get something out of everybody,” according to Porter.

“Now it’ll be 48 [Dupree] and 90 [Watt], and they’ll just play until they’re tired,” Porter said. “And when they get tired, somebody will come and relieve them. But it won’t be ‘This is your series and this is the next one’s series.’ We don’t have to do that.”

Porter noted that the Steelers’ new scheme of two primary linebackers is much more similar to previous eras, which included a younger Harrison and LaMarr Woodley taking over the majority of reps at the positions.

“It’s like when Woodley and Harrison were in their heyday, there was no reason to pull them off. When me and [Jason] Gildon were out here, there was no reason to pull us off.

“Now we finally have that. I mean, so, we’re not going to stunt their growth and pull them out when they’re not doing anything wrong. We’re going to let them play.”

Rookie slated to start over former two-time Super Bowl champion Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Jason has contributed to numerous websites in the past covering a wide range of sports including SEC football for the past four seasons. He began his journalism career as a student journalist at the University of Tennessee where he covered the Vols for the student radio station and newspaper. Here’s ...Read more
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Prashad is the Senior Content Editor for Cox Media Group's FanBuzz.com. He considers Muhammad Ali, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce some of the all-time greats. Boston is TitleTown, in case you were wondering.
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