It is certainly strange to have former Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison, who terrorized fans in Cincinnati for years, to be a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. Harrison made an appearance at the Bengals Pep Rally, which was welcomed with loud cheers. It was a reception that the veteran was thrilled to see, but did not expect.
“I didn’t know how I would be taken,” Harrison said, according to Bengals.com. “I didn’t know what (the reaction) would be, but it was great. I definitely felt it out there.
“Change in color, change in attitudes.”
The 35-year-old inked a two-year, $4.45 million deal earlier this year with the Bengals. Harrison will be expected to attack opposing quarterbacks with an intensity that is not matched by many other pass rushers in the NFL. Cincinnati is hoping he will be productive in some way every time he takes the field, even if that means playing in a certain role.
It has yet to be revealed how the Bengals plan to use him, even though he is listed as the starting strongside linebacker on the unofficial depth chart. Harrison believes he will still have plenty of opportunities to blitz and be an effective pass rusher.
“I’m playing SAM, so I’m basically doing the same thing I do in a 3-4 defense,” Harrison told Bengals.com. “It’s just that I’ll switch where I’m lining up.”
Harrison recorded 70 total tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles in 13 games with the Steelers last season. The Bengals are hoping he can improve on those numbers. However, the fact that they have a dominant defensive player lining up should raise the morale of the entire defense.