The Daily Courier Logo
Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
2:23 AM Mon, Dec. 17th

Steelers cut sack leader, 5-time Pro Bowler James Harrison

In this Oct. 8, 2017, photo, Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison walks the sidelines as his team plays against the Jacksonville Jaguars in an NFL football game in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Fred Vuich)

In this Oct. 8, 2017, photo, Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison walks the sidelines as his team plays against the Jacksonville Jaguars in an NFL football game in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Fred Vuich)

PITTSBURGH — James Harrison's long tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers is over.

The AFC North champions released the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker and 2008 NFL defensive player of the year on Saturday to make room for right tackle Marcus Gilbert. Gilbert is returning from a suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing substance policy.

Harrison, 39, is the franchise's all-time leader in sacks, with 80.5 during his 14 seasons with the Steelers and 82.5 during his career. He briefly retired in September 2014 after a forgettable 2013 season in Cincinnati but returned when the Steelers ran into injury trouble.

He collected at least five sacks every season between 2014 and 2016 and signed a two-year deal last spring.

Harrison's playing time dipped significantly this season. He has been active in only five of Pittsburgh's 14 games despite being injury-free.