I told Daniel Dudley on Trib-Live Radio yesterday that I didn’t think it was a good idea to bring James Harrison back to the Steelers for a final go-round. 24 hours later I’m re-thinking my position just a bit but I’m still not ready to say “yes, bring him back.”
The reason I’m having some second thoughts is that Jason Worilds has done very little in Organized Team Activities to this point due to an injury. Reports from around the Steelers’ media indicate that the injury appears to be a calf problem.
The seriousness of the injury isn’t known, but it brings up some serious questions that I know I and many others had when the Steelers chose to offer him the transition tag which he quickly signed.
Worilds showed some good promise over an eight-game stretch, but the rest of his career has been hampered by injuries and very average play on the field. It’s a scary thought to ponder but what if Worilds can’t go when the season starts? Is Dick LeBeau prepared to go with Chris Carter? Does he have a plan to move Arthur Moats to that spot?
At 36 years old, Harrison is not exactly a spring chicken in football parlance and he is coming off a year that he played in Cincinnati after he spurned a pretty fair offer from the Steelers. Harrison’s play in Cincinnati last year was not very good. Part of that was due to the switch to a 4-3 defense versus the 3-4 that he played in while a Steeler.
The positive of Harrison coming back is of course experience and leadership and an excellent ability to play the run. I don’t think he is the threat to get to the passer he once was but considering the options he could be the best option they have.
It isn’t normal standard operating procedure for the Steelers to bring back former players but you just never know. Harrison has been pretty upfront about his desire to come back but at what price is he willing to do so?
Besides Carter, there is rookie Jordan Zumwalt but I don’t see him being a factor other than on special teams. One possible long-shot fill-in for Worilds could be the oft-traveled Vic So’oto who has been with numerous teams over the last two seasons because of injury. He has shown great flashes but just can’t stay healthy. If he can, he has tremendous size and speed and could see the field.
At this point, I still don’t think we’ll see Harrison back in the black ‘n gold but I’m more open to it considering the current state of Jason Worlds. Should his health continue to be a question throughout the summer, then I think Harrison has to be an option.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard weekly on Trib-Live Radio talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.