Could 42-year-old former Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison be making a comeback?
After the Steelers lost starting outside linebacker Bud Dupree for the season on Wednesday, Charlie Batch, the Steelers Radio Network postgame host and former teammate of Harrison’s, suggested bringing back the five-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion.
On Thursday, Harrison posted an Instagram story from the private practice of Steelers team physician and orthopedic surgeon Dr. James P. Bradley.
Harrison has not played in the NFL since 2017, when he was released mid-season why the Steelers after losing his starting spot to Arthur Moats. He then signed on with the New England Patriots for the remainder of the season.
Harrison has played in 193 career games, including 14 seasons with the Steelers, which tied him for third in franchise history. He has recorded 793 tackles and 84.5 sacks, 80.5 of which came with Pittsburgh, a franchise record.
The Steelers do have existing depth at outside linebacker, with rookie Alex Highsmith replacing Dupree on Wednesday and third-year player Ola Adeniyi and veteran backup Jayrone Elliott owning extensive experience on special teams.
But a player returning to the NFL after a protracted absence isn’t totally unheard of and in fact, one just did it on Wednesday. Wide receiver Dez Bryant dressed as a member of the Baltimore Ravens active roster against the Steelers. It was Bryant’s third game of the 2020 season after not having played since 2017. Bryant missed 2018 with an Achilles injury and sat out 2019 to rehabilitate.