The decline of James Harrison continues. Not only did he not see a snap in the heated battle with a division rival in the Baltimore Ravens, but he wasn’t even dressed for the game.
That may not have been entirely a coaching decision, however. Mike Tomlin said the real reason was an illness.
“Tomlin [says] James Harrison was sick and missed lot of prep time last week,” reported Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “That’s why he did not dress Sunday.”
Even so, Harrison has really been phased out of the game. He lost his starting job in camp. He’s had games where he’s seen incredibly limited snap counts. Through four contests, he has yet to record a statistic in 2017. He has no tackles, no sacks – nothing. He’s only played in two of the four games, on that limited basis, and has not started.
It’s clearly age. He’s 39. The Steelers were willing to keep him around, but they want to go with youth and Tomlin isn’t afraid to do it. He’s playing the guys who give them the best chance to win. He’s not worried about hurting Harrison’s feelings.
Publicly, he’s expressed confidence in the former star, who has been in many epic battles with the Ravens.
“There will be a time in the season when we will call on him,” Tomlin said, per NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala. “He will deliver and deliver in a big way.”
The stats tell the real story, though, and it’s clear that Harrison will never have his old role back.
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