Pittsburgh Steelers Pull A Taylor Swift

In the ongoing saga of “will they or won’t they reunite”  the Pittsburgh Steelers front office recently took a big step back.  As reported by Gerry Dulac in the Post-Gazette, the team told James Harrison that they were no longer interested in bringing back the recently released linebacker, who is currently a free agent.

Will Harrison and the Steelers every kiss and make up?

Will Harrison and the Steelers every kiss and make up?

But is this really it?  Steelers fans cling to a shred of hope that the intimidating 5-time Pro Bowler will remain in the Black & Gold.  It’s not looking good right now, but in the NFL, you can never say never.  As Taylor Swift sings in “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”:

I remember when we broke up, the first time
Saying this is it, I’ve had enough, ’cause like
We haven’t seen each other in a month
When you, said you, needed space, what?
Then you come around again and say
Baby, I miss you and I swear I’m gonna change
Trust me, remember how that lasted for a day
I say, I hate you, we break up, you call me, I love you
Don’t forget that Harrison was not an instant success, and there were a few break-ups during the relationship.  Signed by the Steelers as an undrafted rookie in 2002, he spent 2 years on the practice squad and was released 3 different times.  He was signed by the Baltimore Ravens in 2003 and sent to play football in Europe to gain extra experience.  After the Ravens cut him, Harrison actually considered quitting.  Fortunately, he got one last shot with the Steelers.  Filling in for an injured Clark Haggans, Harrison showed improvement.  When Joey Porter was released in 2007 (ironically, due to cap issues), Harrison stepped in as a starter.  You know how well that chapter turned out.

Harrison was due to make $6.57 million in 2013 and $7.575 million in 2014.  With their limited cap space, there was no way the Steelers could keep the linebacker unless he took a significant pay cut.  Although the team and his agent met to negotiate, a new deal was never struck, and the team released Harrison on March 9th.  Harrison thanked his fans and said it was time to move on.

Harrison didn’t get much interest as a free agent, most likely due to his age and injury history (although he’s probably his healthiest in years right now).  He seemed on the verge of signing with the Ravens, but then they gave their money to ex-Bronco Elvis Dumervil instead.

Later that day, Harrison’s agent Bill Parise told the media that  he “has not closed the door on his client returning to Pittsburgh and would welcome a call from Steelers”.  Which translates as that he was now open to the pay cut he refused a few weeks ago.  Funny how things change when no one else wants a spot on your dance card, right Taylor?:

Oooh you called me up again tonight
But oooh, this time I’m telling you, I’m telling you
We are never ever ever getting back together
We are never ever ever getting back together
You go talk to your friends talk
To my friends talk to me
But we are never ever ever ever getting back together
So would the Steelers ever have a change of heart?  It has certainly happened before.  Coach Tomlin is ready to move ahead with Jason Worilds as the new starting OLB, as he was with Harrison when Porter left.  But the Steelers don’t have a lot of depth at that position.  In the event of injury — and Harrison still sitting on his couch — you could see a renewed love affair.  While you wait to see how the story ends, I’ll leave you with the romantic certainty that Ms. Swift provides:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA4iX5D9Z64

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