James Harrison has one of the most unique stories in the NFL.
As an undrafted rookie out of Kent State, Harrison first signed with the Steelers, and then moved on to the Ravens and the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe. But two years later he re-signed with the Steelers and his career took off. He made the Pro Bowl each year from 2007 - 2011, won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 and had one of the most memorable plays in Super Bowl history when he ran an interception back 100 yards right before halftime against the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, which the Steelers eventually won, 27-23.
James Harrison's 100-yard pick-six in Super Bowl 43! #Steelers https://t.co/0T4OX0uDgn
Harrison moved on to the Bengals for a year in 2013 and announced his retirement in 2014 before deciding to suit up for the Steelers again for two more seasons. The team eventually cut him last season and he wound up being signed by the Patriots for the remainder of last year.
Well this morning Harrison, who will turn 40 in May, announced on Instagram that he's decided to call it a career, closing out one of the most interesting and entertaining careers in the NFL.
I've missed way too much for way too long...and I'm done. Many thanks to my family, coaches, the fans, and everyone who played a role in my football life. #2ndAndFinalRetirement #HarrisonFamilyValues #BlessedAndHighlyFavored #GodsPlan 🙏🏾
37.3k Likes, 1,871 Comments - James Harrison (@jhharrison92) on Instagram: "I've missed way too much for way too long...and I'm done. Many thanks to my family, coaches, the..."
“I’ve missed way too much for way too long,” Harrison wrote on his post. “I’m done. Many thanks to my family, coaches, the fans, and everyone who played a role in my football life.”
Harrison's career was one of great perseverance, one in which he fought hard to prove all the doubters wrong. They said he couldn't make it from a small school or play at the pro level because he was "undersized." But like all of the great players from the long and storied tradition of Steelers' linebackers, which includes players such as The Steel Curtain of the ‘70s, Kevin Greene, Greg Lloyd, Jason Gildon, Joey Porter and Levon Kirkland, he proved the haters and experts wrong and joined this group of players who all had major impacts during their time donning the black and yellow.
Affectionately known as "Deebo," Harrison (as I wrote back in 2014) "holds most in common with Greg Lloyd in that they both came from small schools, were both ferocious on the field and viewed as undersized until their opponents were staring up at the numbers on their chest, realizing at that moment that a man’s heart should never be discounted due to physical appearance."
He was a beast on the field and in the weight room, as evidenced by his grueling, jaw dropping workouts he posted. After watching them, there's no doubting how he was able to play, and be a force, over his fifteen year career.
16.3k Likes, 198 Comments - James Harrison (@jhharrison92) on Instagram: "FAIL... When you get 3 but it's suppose to be 5. #neverquitworking #blessedandhighlyfavored"
#92 for the Black and Yellow finishes his career with a stat line consisting of 573 tackles, 84.5 sacks, 8 interceptions, five Pro Bowl selections, one All-Pro Defensive Player of the Year and two Super Bowl victories (SB XL and SB XLIII).