Six months have passed since the business decision led to James Harrison's departure from the Steelers. From Harrison's perspective not much has changed since March when he could not come to terms on a restructured contract with the franchise that signed him as an undrafted free agent. It was business then and will be business again Monday night when he faces his former team for the first time in a nationally televised Monday night game at Paul Brown Stadium. Harrison is now a linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals and all that is left from his days as a Steelers player are the memories. "It's really not hard to switch allegiances" Harrison said. "It's about where I'm making my money. Y'all can't seem to understand that concept. It's a job. Yeah I enjoyed the guys I worked with. I'm thankful for everything they did for me and what the Rooneys did for me. "But right now I'm with the Bengals and I'm going to put everything I have into helping the Bengals win just like I did when I was with the Steelers." There was no emotion not a hint of anticipation in his voice at the prospect of facing the Steelers who asked him to take a steep pay cut after 2012. The only time he let his guard down was after his Friday interview session ended and a reporter playfully asked him as he walked away if he had his kids "trash their Steelers stuff." Harrison responded in a serious manner: "I let them keep it. Why not? They paid me a lot of money. They took care of me and my kids good." Not quite reverence for his former employer but a healthy dose of respect. The Steelers were good to Harrison and Harrison was good for the Steelers. He authored arguably the greatest play in Super Bowl history to help the Steelers win their record sixth Lombardi Trophy when he returned an interception 100 yards on the final play of the first half of an eventual 27-23 victory against the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. He made the Pro Bowl five consecutive seasons and ranks fourth in franchise history with 64 sacks. But Harrison turned 35 in the spring and was coming off two injury-riddled seasons. He also was set to earn $6.57 million. He agreed to take a pay cut but he did not accept the $3.7 million offer from the Steelers believing he could make more money on the open market. The best offer he received was from the Bengals who are paying him $3 million this season on a two-year contract worth $4.45 million. Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis grew up in the 3-4 defense. His first job in the NFL was linebackers coach for the Steelers. From 1992-95 he served under coach Bill Cowher and defensive coordinators Dom Capers and Dick LeBeau. Lewis' background in the 3-4 was one of the reasons he had no qualms about signing Harrison and plugging him into his 4-3 defense.
Harrison: It will be all business against the Steelers
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Sep 14