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Harrison undergoes surgery to repair broken eye socket

James Harrison underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a fractured orbital bone near his right eye, an injury he suffered during the third quarter of Sunday's loss to the Houston Texans.

The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker is expected to be sidelined for what coach Mike Tomlin called "a number of weeks," giving Harrison ample time to perfect a new persona -- even more menacing than before.

"I feel like a pirate," Harrison tweeted, along with a self-portrait showing him in a white eye patch, wearing a chilling grimace -- certainly enough to give the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals a shiver.

The 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year assured Twitter followers that he's on the mend.

"Thanks again to all for the prayers and get well wishes," Harrison wrote. "I'm out of surgery and in my room recovering."

Visible in the background: a cute, red balloon. No official word on who sent it -- probably not Joe Flacco.

The Steelers have been sideswiped by injuries, looking especially vulnerable along a porous offensive line, but it's the loss of Harrison that strips them of their most imposing defender.

One that no pirate can replace.

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