James Harrison plans to play in 2016, agent says

The NFL's iron man, James Harrison, plans on playing next year at age 38.

"He's under contract for one more year," Bill Parise, Harrison's agent, told ESPN.com. "We plan to honor that."

It shouldn't be a surprise, and sometimes we get caught up in age. Last year, Harrison played 622 snaps and was undoubtedly one of the best 3-4 outside linebackers in the league. With a unit still in rebuilding mode, having an on-field general willing to play at just $1.25 million in base salary is a simple decision for head coach Mike Tomlin, one of Harrison's closest confidantes.

After the Steelers were bounced from the playoffs, Harrison was initially hesitant about relaying his intentions.

"It's a little tougher for me because I'm in a situation where I'm a little uncertain about what I'm going to do," Harrison told the Post-Gazette last month. "I can't say that was it right now, I wouldn't be comfortable saying that."

He added: "I'm 37 years old, I'll be 38 (in May). It's not as easy as I would hope."

Harrison's rub was mostly related to recovery. His body doesn't bounce back as quickly as it used to, but there are few athletes as resilient and pain-indifferent than Harrison, who has been in the NFL since 2002.

Perhaps Harrison will be even more of a situational player this year, which can give Pittsburgh's younger pass rushers a chance to develop quicker. Then again, if a player is tough enough to gut it out on defense at 38, he's probably the type who wants to be a three-down player.

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