Steelers release veteran LB James Harrison in salary cap move
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and James Harrison’s agent had been trying to reach a new contract over the past few days. But they couldn’t agree on the appropriate pay cut for James Harrison, so that both sides could move forward.
"It's been a great run but all good things must come to an end," James Harrison wrote on twitter after his release by the Pittsburgh Steelers. "Thank you Steelers Nation I will miss you all!"
The Pittsburgh Steelers signed James Harrison as an undrafted free agent out of Kent State, who failed to earn recognition as well as stability until 2004, and after he’d already been released three times by the team. James Harrison made three Super Bowl trips with the Pittsburgh Steelers (winning XL, XLIII), combining 6.5 sacks in those playoffs runs (eight postseason games). By 2006, James Harrison had made his place as the Pittsburgh starting right outside linebacker.
"James has been an integral part of our success during his years in Pittsburgh and has helped us win two Lombardi trophies during that time,” Kevin Colbert said in a statement announcing James Harrison’s release. “We appreciate all of his efforts and wish him the best."
In 10 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, James Harrison totaled 64 sacks (fourth highest in team history), 28 forced fumbles (second franchise leader) and five interceptions. In the midst of a stretch where he made five consecutive Pro Bowls, James Harrison was also named the NFL Defensive player of the year in 2008.
"James has played a major role in the success of this organization during his time in Pittsburgh,” Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. “I appreciate everything he has done in my six years as head coach and wish him nothing but the best in the future."
However, James Harrison struggled with knee issues last season, due to which he missed three games. James Harrison, who turns 35 in May, was due to make $6.57 million in 2013 on a five-year, $51-million extension he signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009. The move brings the Pittsburgh Steelers back under the 2013 salary cap while providing over $5 million in cap relief.
The Pittsburgh Steelers used that free cap space to retain their restricted free agents – Isaac Redman, Steve McLendon, Emmanuel Sanders and Jonathan Dwyer – with $1.32 million tenders each. However, the Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly didn’t offer tenders to Stevenson Sylvester and Jeremy Kapinos, who face future as unrestricted free agents.