Reporting Bob Allen
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s the news no Steelers’ fan wants to hear about an all-time fan favorite, but it’s a reality. Five-time Pro Bowler and 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, James Harrison will no longer wear black and gold.
“It’s little disappointing. I got his jerseys,” said one fan. “Favorite defensive player; it’s hard.”
“I think it’s terrible. We need a James Harrison – that weird guy, that crazy guy,” added another fan.
The Steelers made it official Saturday, releasing of the 34-year-old Harrison. Sources say they wanted Harrison to stay, but he refused to take a pay cut.
WEB EXTRA: KDKA’s Bob Pompeani interviews James Harrison following his release:
“I just don’t think he’s worth $6.5 million,” one Steelers fan said. “I mean, he had six sacks last year. He was hurt a lot of the year, though.”
“Once you get into your mid-30s, you’re getting past your prime in football,” said another fan. “It’s a shame to say, but we’re really going to miss him.”
So, now fans are saying thanks for the memories; those bone-shattering tackles, devastating quarterback sacks and that famous interception in the Super Bowl.
“He made one of the best Super Bowl plays we’ve ever had,” one fan said.
“He’s awesome,” added another fan. “He’s an animal on that line. He’s amazing, but I wasn’t surprised to see him go.”
Third-year linebacker Jason Worilds is expected to replace Harrison. Next season, the all-time Steelers great could be in another uniform.
“I just wouldn’t like to see him play for Cleveland right now, or Baltimore on the other side of Suggs. That would scare me,” said one fan.
“He’s going to go somewhere else and play. Somebody else will pick him up,” added another.
But that’s life in the NFL, we’ve seen great Steelers come and go.
“I enjoyed him,” another Steelers fan said. “I like Franco Harris, too, but I mean, time changes. You know, you can’t play forever.”