Jan 8 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison (92) before the start of the 2011 AFC Wildcard Playoff game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers release 2008 Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison


The Pittsburgh Steelers had until Tuesday afternoon to decide what to do with the massive contract of linebacker James Harrison.

They didn’t need to wait that long to make a decision.

In an inevitable salary cup cost cutting move, the Steelers announced that they would release the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker.

Harrison confirmed the release by thanking Steelers nation with a classy tweet.

 

January 8, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) during the first quarter of the 2011 AFC wild card playoff game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

In addition, Steelers’ general manager Kevin Colbert also confirmed the news by saying through a press release on the team’s website:

“We have informed James Harrison that we have released him. James has been an integral part of our success during his years in Pittsburgh and has helped us win two Lombardi trophies during that time. We appreciate all of his efforts and wish him the best.”

Steelers’ fans may be upset over the move, but it was the only real move the Steelers had here.

Harrison will be 35 and coming off of a few injury plagued seasons. Considering the way his production has fallen off in the past few years, it made little sense to keep a guy with a cap hit of over $10 million where the Steelers have so many other areas to address and very little cap room to do so.

The 2008 Defensive Player of the Year really hasn’t been the same player the past few years. Harrison played in 13 regular-season games for the Steelers in 2012, recording 70 combined tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles. His six sacks were the fewest he’s recorded in a season since 2006, although he played much better down the stretch than he did earlier in the season.

A two-time Super Bowl champion, Harrison has 64 sacks, 29 forced fumbles and five interceptions for his career.

Now the question is how exactly the Steelers will attempt to replace the veteran as there isn’t much quality depth at linebacker currently on the Steelers roster.

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