Steelers release linebacker James Harrison
Pittsburgh, PA, United States (4E Sports) – The Pittsburgh Steelers have released five-time Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison due to his declining production and salary cap reasons.
“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,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said. “We appreciate all of his efforts and wish him the best.”
“It’s been a great run but all good things must come to an end,” Harrison posted on his Twitter account Saturday afternoon. “Thank you Steelers Nation I will miss you all!”
Colbert and Harrison’s agent Bill Parise had spent the last few days trying to iron out a new deal but couldn’t reach any common ground. By releasing Harrison, the Steelers create $5.105 million in cap space.
Harrison was entering the final two years of a $51-million extension he signed in 2009 and was scheduled to make $6.57 million in 2013.
The linebacker had been trying to rework his contract that was set to pay him $6.57 million this season. He was set to make $7.6 million in 2014.
Harrison will find himself looking for work for the first time since he became a fixture on the right side of Pittsburgh’s 3-4 defense in 2006.
Harrison is the first cap move by the Steelers this offseason as they try to get under the $123 million salary cap by Tuesday, when the new league year begins.
Recently, Ben Roethlisberger and linebacker Lawrence Timmons have restructured their contracts to help get Pittsburgh under the cap number.
“Sooner or later you have to pay the debt and you never want to get to a point where you have to gut your team and start over because we have to compete for a championship every year,” Colbert said in January.