38-Year-Old Linebacker – Pittsburgh Steelers
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook
At 38 years old, Harrison is the oldest defensive player in the NFL. Already lured from retirement once, he is likely in the final season of his illustrious career. He proved he still has some gas i...
James Harrison Contract Information:
Signed a two-year contract with the Steelers in March of 2015.
Harrison plans to return for what will be his 14th NFL season in 2017, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
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|2016 Proj||38||PIT||Subscribe now to see our 2016 projections for James Harrison|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
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A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
James Harrison: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
At 37, Harrison is slated to return to provide veteran leadership to a young group of Steelers linebackers, and will compete with Jarvis Jones for the starting right outside linebacker position.
Harrison's six sacks last season were his fewest since 2006, but the 34-year-old should continue to be a pass-rushing force for the Bengals in 2013.
Even though he’s a 3-4 outside linebacker, Harrison has consistently shown the freakish ability to approach the 100-tackle mark, which in past years easily made him the top IDP at the position. The reason he’s behind DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller, though, is because he underwent two back surgeries prior to last year and heads into his age-34 season in 2012. He was just about as productive as ever in the 11 games he played last year (he missed games due to suspension and a fractured orbital bone), totaling 59 tackles and nine sacks, but those back surgeries raise the specter of imminent decline.
It’s difficult to overstate just how remarkable Harrison is. He’s the only 3-4 outside linebacker in the league with the ability to produce triple-digit tackles, and he still manages to be an elite pass rusher and turnover machine. In addition to 378 tackles the last four years, Harrison has totaled 45 sacks, four interceptions and 25 forced fumbles. There’s no weak spot to be found – Harrison is a constant terror in all phases of the game, and offensive coordinators seem no closer to figuring him out now than they were in 2007. In leagues that provide big rewards for sack production, Harrison might be the top linebacker IDP to target.
Harrison doesn’t rack up as many tackles as other elite IDP linebackers — until you factor in tackling the quarterback. The Steelers’ primary pass-rush threat has racked up 34.5 sacks the last three seasons — 16 in 2008 alone — and posted 10 last year. Like the Steelers as a whole, he finished the year in disappointing fashion, failing to record a sack in his last six games and totaling just 79 tackles. If he returns to the 100- tackle mark he had the previous two seasons, he’ll be a difference maker.
Harrison nearly doubled his career high in sacks last season, dropping opposing quarterbacks 16 times on his way to a Steelers record and NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. Records and accolades don’t count for much in IDP leagues, though, and Harrison’s tackle totals – 99.5 average the last two years – are what separate him from the elite fantasy defenders. His fantasy numbers depend on high sack totals, which can be inconsistent from year to year.
Harrison won the starting job last season and proved he can put up quality stats. He racked up career highs with 8.5 sacks and 87 tackles. Harrison dealt with offseason troubles stemming from a domestic dispute, but all charges were dropped. Expect Harrison to be on the field for the Steelers and producing at a fantasy worthy level.
Harrison will attempt to pick up some of the slack left by the release of Joey Porter. Harrison is on the smallish side (6-foot, 242-pounds) and missed five games with injury in 2006. He had three sacks and a pick in 2005 has never established himself as a starter.
Harrison won't put up fantasy numbers worthy of an IDP spot, but he just may well be the team's scariest, if not toughest, defender. Harrison, who recorded just 45 total tackles (36/9) with three sacks, puts the fear of God in opposing offenses with his hitting ability. Nicknamed "Silverback" by his teammates.
Harrison walked in off the street in the summer of 2004 and ended up becoming a key contributor on defense. Coach Bill Cowher has lauded Harrison's ability to gain leverage with his stocky build (6-0, 242 lbs) in training camp. He's a competent defender on the Steeler's defense, but not worthy of an IDP pick. He finished with one sack and one fumble recovery in 2004.