James Harrison, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ all-time sacks leader who was waived by the team just before Christmas and ended up in the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots, announced his retirement on Twitter this morning.
Harrison, who will turn 40 in a few weeks, was signed in 2003 by the Ravens after being cut by the Steelers in 2002. The Ravens sent him to NFL Europe before eventually releasing him. He re-signed with the Steelers and spent the majority of his career with them.
The five-time Pro Bowl linebacker and the 2008 NFL defensive player of the year was released by the Steelers on Dec. 23 to make room for right tackle Marcus Gilbert. The Ravens were reportedly interested in Harrison, but he signed with the Patriots, causing an uproar in Pittsburgh.
Harrison, an undersized but relentless pass rusher, had more sacks (80.5 in 14 seasons) than any of the Steelers greats. He started his career with the Steelers in 2002 after going undrafted out of Kent State. He spent time on the Steelers’ practice squad and was signed to the active roster during the 2002 season, playing special teams.
Against the Ravens, he had 16 career sacks and played possibly his best all-around game on Nov. 5, 2007, in a 38-7 win. He had 10 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception that day against Baltimore.
He acknowledged on his Twitter post that he has “missed too much for way too long” and had photos of his kids posted on his Instagram account with the hashtag “HarrisonFamilyValues.”