PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – The Steelers began their on-field preparations for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and James Harrison took part after signing with the team on Tuesday. The 36 year old linebacker said it may take him three to four weeks to get into “game shape.”
When asked if he could play a few snaps in a game before then Harrison said, “I could probably do that, but we’ll see what they have planned for me and go from there.”
Harrison credited Brett Keisel, Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor with reaching out to him and encouraging him to return to the team for which he played from 2004-2012.
“I talked with my mom, dad, boys and my second family here you know, Keisel, Ike and Troy and the consensus was to come back so it’s hard to turn down family so I came back,” Harrison said.
After his first practice back with the Steelers, Harrison said he felt horrible and that he hasn’t run at practice speed since January. He put on about ten pounds during his retirement and he thinks it will take three to four weeks to get into game shape again.
“I could gain all the muscle I wanted to when I was sitting on the couch,” Harrison said. “Now I got to go out here and play so I”m going to have to lose a couple pounds.”
As far as goals and aspirations for the season, Harrison said he is just trying to make it to tomorrow.
“I didn’t really miss it the only thing I really missed was the teammates, the comradery and being with the guys,” Harrison said. “The game itself I really didn’t miss.”
Don’t expect to see Harrison next season because he said this will only be a one season thing.
During practice, Sean Spence replaced the injured Ryan Shazier at left inside linebacker. Spence, who took over when Shazier sprained his knee during the win at Carolina, said he was informed before practice by linebackers coach Keith Butler that he will start Sunday.
Spence, a third year player from Miami, suffered a catastrophic knee injury during the 2012 preseason.
“Oh, man this is a blessing. I’ve been through a lot of things. The tunnel was dark for me for a long time, but I stayed positive,” Spence said today of his opportunity start for the first time since joining the Steelers.
He also said he has a lot of things to work on, adding “it’s a week to week job and you have to produce to stay.”
Guard Ramon Foster and running back Dri Archer returned to practice Wednesday and were full participants. Polamalu, Keisel and Heath Miller were given the day off.