Veteran free agent linebacker James Harrison has received little interest on the street. Harrison, soon to be 35, was released by the Pittsbugh Steelers early in the free agency period after a restructured deal between the two sides could not be worked out. Harrison’s agent made it known that the linebacker would be open to a return to the Steelers now, but head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters at the owners meetings last month the team is moving forward without him.
ESPN reported on Thursday that Harrison visited with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are seeking a replacement for outside linebacker, Manny Lawson who joined the Buffalo Bills via free agency. In addition to Harrison, the Bengals reportedly met with free agent Karlos Dansby as well on Thursday. Harrison has also met with the Baltimore Ravens earlier in free agency.
Harrison has been a controversial player during his time in the league. Known as a fierce defender able to deliver punishing hits, his production has tailed off in recent years. He recorded 16 sacks in the 2008 season, winning AP Defensive Play of the Year Honors, but his numbers have decreased in recent years. He had 9 sacks in 2011 and just 6 quarterback takedowns in 2012 while playing in 13 games.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport suggested Thursday night on Twitter that a deal is not imminent. “James Harrison & #Bengals: No immediate signing. They liked what they heard. LB coach Paul Guenther talked with Harrison til midnight Wed. ”