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Steelers, Harrison agree to two-year deal

Joe Rutter
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Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers linebacker James Harrison leaves the field after losing to the Patriots in the AFC championship game Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers linebacker James Harrison walks to the sideline during the third quarter Sunday, Nov. 20. 2016, in Cleveland.

INDIANAPOLIS — James Harrison will have the chance to keep sacking quarterbacks until he’s 40.

Harrison, the Steelers’ career sacks leader, signed a two-year contract with the Steelers on Wednesday. ESPN reported the contract is worth $3.5 million, which means Harrison will receive more than the NFL veteran minimum of $1 million per season.

Harrison recently completed a two-year, $2.75 million deal.

Harrison, 38, had five sacks last season, giving him 81.5 for his career (79.5 with the Steelers). He moved into the starting lineup in midseason and started seven games.

Scheduled to be a free agent on March 8, Harrison wanted to stay with the Steelers beyond the 2017 season.

Asked whether it was important for Harrison to have a second year added to the contract, agent Bill Parise said, “It was. It was important for James to be able to add that.”

Parise said the deal was negotiated over the past couple of weeks.

“Our target was to move as well as we could and get this done quickly,” he said.

A former NFL defensive player of the year, Harrison retired briefly in 2014 but has accumulated 15.5 sacks in the three years since he rejoined the Steelers. He is penciled in to start next season at outside linebacker along with Bud Dupree.

The oldest player to record a sack is Clay Matthews, who had 6.5 with the Atlanta Falcons in 1996 when he was 40. Former Buffalo Bills great Bruce Smith had nine sacks at age 39 and five at 40.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

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