Steelers notebook: Harrison ‘pretty sure’ this will be final season
James Harrison isn’t part of the league-wide downturn in sacks — with four in six games, he already has twice as many as he did all last season with the Bengals.
Despite Harrison’s strong comeback following a three-week retirement, the Steelers outside linebacker still isn’t thinking about returning next season.
“As of right now this is my last year,” he said Wednesday. “Nothing is 100 percent, obviously, because I came back (this season), but I’m pretty sure this will be the last one. And once I retire again, that will be the final. It won’t be any Brett Favre retire, come back, retire, come back.”
He has played only 238 snaps — or 416 fewer than Jason Worilds — but Harrison also has 23 tackles, 12 quarterback hits and 6 QB hurries. He’s not only playing like himself, he’s feeling like himself — finally — after being away from the NFL for nine months.
“My body is actually starting to feel a lot better, I’m not as sore coming out on Monday, I’m not as sore after the games,” he said. “The first three or four weeks, I was just recovering by the time Saturday came, just getting to where I was good enough to go Sunday. Now I feel pretty good on Friday.”
Even if not good enough to consider playing one more season.
“But nothing’s 100 percent,” he said.
• Antonio Brown is the first wide receiver in Steelers history with at least 1,000 yards receiving after 10 games, and he leads the NFL with 79 catches and 1,070 yards. But he’s not yet ready to proclaim himself the league’s best. “You can always think you’re the best, but you can’t get caught up from a numbers standpoint,” he said. “You can’t get caught up with what this guy does. With us, winning comes (first) and then the individual success.”
• Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (wrist) isn’t ready to return to practice, but he remains hopeful of playing again this season. But might it be hard to sit downJames Harrison andArthur Moats if Jones returns next month? “Whatever the coaches decide, they decide,” said Jones, who was hurt Sept. 21 against Carolina. “I want to come back as soon as possible, but I’m not going to try to rush, knowing I’m dealing with an injury — something serious — that if I try to rush back, it would set me back.”
• Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator Ray Horton once were with the Steelers, and Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak was with the Titans for three decades as a player and coach. Ben Roethlisberger can definitely see the Dick LeBeau influence on Horton’s defense: “I can’t sit there and say if it’s the exact same calls, but there are a lot of similar looking blitzes and designs,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s definitely something we’ve seen a lot of.”
• Whisenhunt is trying to downplay any comparisons between Zach Mettenberger, his rookie starting quarterback, and Roethlisberger when he was a rookie in 2004. Mettenberger was a sixth-round pick and wasn’t expected to start so soon. “I don’t think he (Mettenberger) is as mobile, but the kid has a great big arm,” said Titans receiver Nate Washington, who once played for the Steelers. “He is a strong thrower. He can make those tight throws like Ben can.”
• The Titans, when they were the Houston Oilers, were one of the original members in 1970 of the AFC Central, which became the AFC North in 2002, when the Titans were shifted to the AFC South. The Steelers and Oilers twice met in AFC title games in the 1970s. But, as coach Mike Tomlin said, “It’s been many years since these teams were in the same division. A lot of these young guys that are 21, 22 and 23 don’t even remember it.”
• Steelers cornerback William Gay is the Steelers’ 2014 recipient of the Walter Payton Award, presented to a player who makes outstanding contributions to his community off the field. Gay becomes eligible for the league-wide award. Gay works closely with Pittsburgh-area women’s shelters to help prevent domestic violence and aid victims of it. He also is the national spokesman for RUSafe, a dangerous relationship assessment app developed by the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.