James Harrison 'fine' with Steelers 'relief pitcher' role

At 39 years old, All-Pro Steelers pass rusher James Harrison sees what everyone else can see: T.J. Watt has the goods.

The rookie outside linebacker shined in his preseason debut, piling up two sacks, raging into the pocket and causing havoc in a win over the New York Giants.

In the afterglow of that contest, Watt's starry play prompted outside linebackers coach Joey Porter to say that Harrison was being teed up for a "relief pitcher" role behind the first-rounder -- a scenario Harrison is willing to follow.

"Oh, OK, if that's what they say, all right," Harrison said of Porter's depth-chart update, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "That's fine if that's what they want me to do."

Harrison acknowledged that Porter's comments were news to him, but circled back around to emphasize: "Whatever it is they ask me to do. I'm fine with that."

Harrison stands as the franchise's all-time sack leader with 79.5 takedowns during a career that began in 2002 and could very well land him a spot in Canton.

Pittsburgh historically slow-cooks its rookies, but it's no surprise that Watt is being seen as a different beast. Why not shove him into the starting lineup and see what he can do?

As for Harrison, no matter what obstacles rise up, the age-old pass rusher has always found his way into the lineup and will continue to make a difference for the Steelers in what could be his final campaign.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content