Steelers legend and new Hall of Honor inductee James Harrison came by the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Friday to watch Pittsburgh take the field and practice ahead of their Week 12 clash with the Cincinnati Bengals. Harrison watched the new-look offense gear up for their first game without Matt Canada. Of course, Harrison still looked on closely at the pass rushers and friend T.J. Watt, who Harrison mentored during his time in Pittsburgh.
— Matthew Luciow (@matthewluciow92) November 24, 2023
Harrison is one of the team’s most legendary outside linebackers. Initially joining the team as an undrafted free agent in 2002, it took him years to catch on with the squad full-time, and Harrison considered giving up football. But starting in 2004, he was a long-term fixture of the Pittsburgh defense that won Super Bowls XL and XLIII. Harrison had the most memorable play of the latter game, with a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown just before the half, serving as one of the top plays in NFL history. Harrison was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, a four-time All-Pro and a five-time Pro Bowler.
Watt has often described his relationship with Harrison fondly. He had always credited Harrison and others for helping him become the player he is today during his rookie year when Harrison embraced a young Watt.
“Deebo himself helped me so much my rookie year,” Watt said. “He didn’t have to. No one asked him to, but he wanted to help me and I appreciate him for that. So many teammates, coaches, mentors, my brothers, my wife’s support, my parents — There are so many people that go into it that it’s not myself out there making the plays. I mean, I can’t take all the credit.”
Watt broke Harrison’s franchise sack record earlier this season, but Harrison was elated for him when it happened. And Harrison has spoken highly of what Alex Highsmith has done, too, calling the duo better than he and LaMarr Woodley during their primes