With the playoffs looming ahead, the Steelers announced on Saturday they’ve released linebacker James Harrison.
The Pittsburgh Steelers made a pretty significant announcement on Saturday afternoon. The team announced that they’ve activated offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert from the Reserve/Suspended List.
That’s not the significant part of the announcement, though.
No, the important part of the press release actually comes in the form of who they released to make room for the return of Gilbert — linebacker James Harrison.
After announcing that Gilbert would be returning, the Steelers revealed they released the veteran linebacker to make the room.
Some saw this as somewhat surprising, as you automatically associate Harrison with Steelers football, especially defense. However, it really shouldn’t be that shocking. Harrison only played in three games this season for Pittsburgh, seeing his role diminish significantly. For this reason, he was absolutely expendable.
But, if you’re sad about this announcement as a Steelers fan, there is some hope, as Ian Rapoport notes. It’s unlikely that he’ll be claimed off waivers by anyone, so he could be back with the team on Monday for their game against the Houston Texans on Christmas Day.
Still, Harrison has been a staple for this Steelers organization for quite some time now. He’s the franchise’s all-time sacks leader with 80.5 and has been the personification of how football is played by defenders who don the black and yellow uniforms in Pittsburgh.
So now, we just wait and see whether or not anyone picks Harrison up. And if they don’t, with the Steelers showing him that he is expendable, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not the athletic freak decides to call it a career when the season comes to a close.