After 15 years in the NFL, former Steelers, Bengals, and Patriots outside linebacker James Harrison has decided to hang up his cleats.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 16, 2018
In a short Instagram post early this morning, the undrafted linebacker announced his retirement from the NFL. Other than his age (39), spending more time with his family appears to be a main reason behind this decision. In 193 games played over the course of his career, Harrison racked up 84.5 sacks, 34 forced fumbles, and 573 tackles.
Harrison was a late addition to the Patriots roster last season after being cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers in December. There was hope earlier in the off-season that the two sides would re-unite again for next season, but that’s officially out of the question now.
There were moments when Harrison made an impact in New England, but I don’t think this loss is going to kill the Pats. He keeps himself in great shape, but at age 39, who really knows how much more his body can take. A full NFL season is grueling. I’m sure we would have started to see him break down if he were to step on the field again next season.
With or without Harrison, the Patriots have had a need at the edge since trading away Chandler Jones. It’s part of the reason why they took a chance on him at the end of last year. I think they were going to go out and draft a much younger pass-rusher regardless if he came back or not. Now, the chances of that happening seem even more likely.
-Nick Cherico (@NickCherico2)