When James Harrison refused to take a pay cut a few weeks back, most people thought he was right to stick to his guns. The long-time member of the Pittsburgh Steelers just wasn’t into a 30% pay reduction. I understand and respect that, but man, he should’ve taken the decrease. Now, as we enter April, Harrison is out of job and won’t be returning to Pittsburgh anytime soon.
The team did reach back out to their long-time linebacker, but it was only to advise that they would not be re-signing him, even at the decreased rate. So by the time Harrison probably came to terms with the pay cut, it was already too late. The Steelers are going in a different direction, and that comes in the form of Jason Worilds.
Drafted in the second round of 2010 (with this very thing in mind), Worilds will now get his chance to lead the Pittsburgh defense from the MLB position.
Overall, this is the right move for the franchise. While Harrison likely has a couple more years of solid production in him, why not move on to an up-and-comer? Pittsburgh is in a state of transition in 2013, and they realistically won’t compete for a Super Bowl, so the time is right to see what Worilds can do.
Head coach Mike Tomlin commented on the situation, and gave some insight of what’s next for the team’s defense:
“I believe that Jason Worilds is champing at the bit to prove he is capable of being that. When I first got to Pittsburgh in 2007, and we had to let go of Joey Porter, there was a guy that came in my office that was ready to prove that he was capable of 900-1,000 snaps a year. His name was James Harrison. We will see what Worilds is capable of doing.”
I think Tomlin sums it up perfectly, and this is just one of those situations where the franchise has to go with the young guy for the long-term benefit to the franchise. Pittsburgh saves money by dropping Harrison, and now they can see if his replacement can equal his production for a lot less cash.
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