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James Harrison says he'll play for Steelers vs. Jets

The Pittsburgh Steelers toiled through their first game of the season without the services of linebacker James Harrison. That might change Sunday.

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Harrison told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he'll be on the field Sunday against the New York Jets as the Steelers attempt to grab their first win of the season.

Harrison has been bothered by pain in his surgically repaired left knee and didn't practice Wednesday. Coach Mike Tomlin has yet to announce a decision on Harrison's status for the team's home opener.

Detractors point to Pittsburgh's pool of 30-something defenders as a sign of a defense that's seen better days. It's too soon for that chatter, but without Harrison on the field, the Steelers couldn't slow down Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos. Pittsburgh recorded only two sacks and Manning had enough time to engineer a passing game that accounted for 253 yards and two touchdowns through the air.

Harrison is not a friend to quarterbacks. Mark Sanchez's chances of re-recording the carnival ride we saw against the Buffalo Bills dips severely if Harrison suits up. Rex Ryan -- still filled with visions of losing that AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh two season ago -- is watching closely.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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