Earlier in the preseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers laid out a plan for James Harrison to be sort a “relief pitcher,” to standout rookie TJ Watt. That hasn’t quite been the case, and Harrison wasn’t been shy on explaining his frustrations:
Here’s what outside linebackers coach Joey Porter said on the 39-year-old Harrison, his former teammate, 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.”
Harrison is a five-time Pro Bowler, two-time Super Bowl champion and has played 15 seasons in the NFL. He played just one season out of a Steelers uniform, gearing up with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013.
Over his tenure in the league, he’s registered 117 starts, 191 appearances and 570 tackles. He put together 82.5 sacks, 33 forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries and eight interceptions.