Harrison on part-time job: 'We all have roles to play'


James Harrison finds himself in a much different position than a year ago.

Last spring, the former All-Pro linebacker didn't have a job and the phone wasn't ringing. When he was still unattached to a team by Week 1, he thought his NFL career was over.

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But then injuries hit the Steelers, and they called their old friend. Harrison suited up and proved to have more than a little left in his tank, serving as a bright spot on a patchwork Pittsburgh defense. His performance was strong enough to secure a two-year deal and the chance to extend his underdog NFL career further at age 37.

"I feel good, and I'm in a far better position than I was last year," Harrison said last week, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. "I'm certainly in better shape. I can hit the ground running.

"My mindset is a little different (than last year) because I'm actually into football. Last year, it was just about working out. It's about football conditioning now."

The days of Harrison anchoring the Steelers defense for 65 snaps are over. He might see 20 per game this season with Jarvis Jones and Ryan Shazier in line for starting roles.

"Nobody wants to be in a backup role," said Harrison. "If that's your mentality, then you're not in the right sport. ... Everybody wants to start, but we all have roles to play. I think I can play more than 25 snaps a game when I'm 50."

The latest Around The NFL Podcast welcomes Jeff Darlington to discuss minicamp stories, and Conor Orr calls in for the debut of a new segment. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.