2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Bengals sign former Steelers LB James Harrison

By JOE KAY - AP Sports Writer
    2013-04-23 13:35

CINCINNATI (AP) - James Harrison is bringing a healed body and his old No. 92 with him down the Ohio River. Next goal: Get a Bengals ring to go with all that Steelers bling.

The former Pittsburgh linebacker signed a two-year contract Tuesday, completing the deal he agreed to four days earlier. He's already got his uniform No. 92 reserved - defensive end Jamaal Anderson agreed to give it up - and his plans set. He'll continue to live in football-crazed Pittsburgh while trying to get the rival Bengals deep into the playoffs.

He's not sure how that's going to feel.

``I wouldn't say it feels strange,'' Harrison said Tuesday on a conference call from Arizona. ``I guess when that time comes, I'll have a better understanding or feeling of exactly what it will be then. I'm just happy to be able to continue playing.''

The five-time Pro Bowl player had to find a new team when he couldn't agree on a restructured contract with the Steelers, who needed to get under the salary cap. The 2008 Defensive Player of the Year wound up going downriver to play for an AFC North rival, one that knocked Pittsburgh out of the playoff chase in a head-to-head game last December at Heinz Field.

``There was no significance in staying in the AFC North,'' Harrison said. ``My thing was I wanted to play with a team that was competitive and had a chance of winning a Super Bowl. I felt like (defending champion) Baltimore and Cincinnati were those teams.

``The second thing I wanted was to stay close to home. I currently live in Pittsburgh and that's where I'm going to reside. I really didn't want to have to go farther away than I had to.''

The 34-year-old linebacker said he left the Steelers with no hard feelings. He realized once negotiations started that the sides weren't going to reach a deal that satisfied Pittsburgh's plans to get under the salary cap.

``I don't have a chip on my shoulder against the Steelers,'' Harrison said. ``I don't hate the Steelers. All the things they're saying, that the media is blowing it up to be ... am I disappointed? Yeah, I'm disappointed. But when the negotiations first started, I basically knew the situation was going to be what it was going to be.

``I wish them the best, except for when we play. And I'm assuming they wish me the same, except when we play them.''

It won't be long. The Bengals will play their first home game against the Steelers on a Monday night next season, providing a national stage for the linebacker's reunion with his former team.

The Bengals have gone to two Super Bowls and lost both to San Francisco. They haven't won a playoff game since 1990. Cincinnati made the playoffs each of the last two seasons as a wild card, but lost its opening postseason game to Houston both times.

The defense ranked sixth in the NFL in yards allowed last season and returns most of the unit intact. Linebacker was a main area of concern.

``With James, that was a big addition to us,'' coach Marvin Lewis said on Tuesday. ``It kind of revved us from where we were a year ago, a step up from where we were a year ago in an area where I hoped to try to improve in some way or another. So we were able to do that.''

Asked what he thinks is the missing piece to the Bengals, Harrison thought for a few seconds.

``I don't think that it's a piece,'' he said. ``It's more consistency. I'll leave it at that.''

Harrison said he's been working out in Arizona and feels healthier than he has in the past few years. He missed time in training camp and the first three games last season with a knee injury, but finished with six sacks - tied for the team lead. The Steelers finished No. 1 in defense for the fourth time since Harrison became a starter in their 3-4 alignment.

Harrison helped the Steelers win the Super Bowl in 2006 and another in 2009 by returning Kurt Warner's pass 100 yards for a touchdown at the end of the first half of a 27-23 victory.

The Bengals were impressed when he visited Cincinnati for a workout.

``He came in here and had a great visit and kind of bared his soul on things to us,'' Lewis said. ``I think it showed really the kind of person he was for us. That was great. (He) worked on the field for us, which not a lot of guys at this point in his career would be willing to do that.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Mike PounceyJul 23 12:33p

Miami Dolphins C Mike Pouncey (hip) could miss the first eight weeks of the season because of the hip surgery he had this offseason, according to a source. He [ More ]

Evan RodriguezJul 23 12:23p

Buffalo Bills FB Evan Rodriguez (cramps) and TE Chris Gragg (cramps) were hospitalized because of complications from cramps and were getting hydrated, according to head coach Doug Marrone. Rodriguez [ More ]

Dustin HopkinsJul 23 12:20p

Buffalo Bills PK Dustin Hopkins will have to try to make the roster as a kickoff specialist, according to head coach Doug Marrone.

Vernon DavisJul 23 12:13p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis has reported to camp Wednesday, July 23, according to an Instagram post from 49ers S C.J. Spillman.

Jason BabinJul 23 12:03p

New York Jets signed DE Jason Babin (Jaguars) to a two-year contract, with the second year being a team option. He's expected to serve as a situational pass rusher.

Reggie WayneJul 23 11:13a

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (knee) said he has been medically cleared to practice. He's expected to be limited, though, especially in the near future.

Kraig UrbikJul 23 10:53a

Buffalo Bills OG Chris Hairston continued to receive first-team repetitions at right guard in the red zone drills Wednesday, July 23. OG Kraig Urbik struggled with first-team the previous day.

Jamaal CharlesJul 23 09:53a

Updating previous reports, Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles will not report to training camp Wednesday, July 23, barring a major contract breakthrough.

Vick BallardJul 23 09:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Vick Ballard (knee) reported to camp and has passed his physical.

Rob GronkowskiJul 23 08:53a

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) has been cleared for contact and will not be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list, according to head coach Bill Belichick.

Evan RodriguezJul 23 08:43a

Buffalo Bills TE Chris Gragg (cramps), FB Evan Rodriguez (cramps) and CB Brandon E. Smith (leg) were out of practice Wednesday, July 23. OT Seantrel Henderson (hip) returned to action.

Rashad JenningsJul 23 08:23a

New York Giants RBs Rashad Jennings, David Wilson and Andre Williams could be used in a three-man rotation this season to keep Jennings fresh.

Caleb McSurdyJul 23 02:53a

The St. Louis Rams waived four players Tuesday, July 22, as they cut loose OL Abasi Salimu, WR Diontae Spencer, LB Caleb McSurdy, and LB Tavarius Wilson.

Carl NicksJul 23 02:43a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Bobby Rainey, G Carl Nicks and DE Da'Quan Bowers may be fighting for roster spots once training camp begins due to other competition for their [ More ]

Chris CulliverJul 23 01:13a

San Francisco 49ers CB Chris Culliver (knee) has been cleared to take part in practice when training camp opens this week. He suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament to [ More ]

Ben TateJul 23 01:13a

Cleveland Browns RBs Ben Tate and Terrance West will compete for the starting tailback job during training camp and the preseason, and it's a battle head coach Mike Pettine [ More ]

Joel BitonioJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns OG Joel Bitonio (ankle) lined up with the first-team offense during organized team activities (OTAs), and he held the spot until he suffered a sprained ankle June [ More ]

Paul McQuistanJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns OLs Garrett Gilkey, Paul McQuistan and Jason Pinkston are fighting for position in the pecking order at right guard, and one of them might even push OG [ More ]

Craig RobertsonJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns LBs Christian Kirksey and Craig Robertson will compete for an inside linebacker job during training camp, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Joe HadenJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns CBs Justin Gilbert and Buster Skrine will compete for the starting cornerback job opposite CB Joe Haden in training camp. 'We weren't going to hand Justin that [ More ]

Gary BarnidgeJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge and Jim Dray will battle for the No. 2 tight end spot during training camp and the preseason.

Eli ManningJul 23 12:23a

New York Giants QB Eli Manning (ankle) has shown no ill effects during camp from ankle surgery that sidelined him for earlier offseason activities.

Tom CoughlinJul 22 11:53p

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was not happy that several players were forced to leave practice with dehydration issues Tuesday, July 22. 'It pisses me off,' Coughlin [ More ]

Brandon LloydJul 22 11:23p

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson is the frontrunner for the No. 3 WR job, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, but he added that neither Johnson nor WR [ More ]

Darren SprolesJul 22 11:13p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren Sproles' ability to win one-on-one matchups in space is what head coach Chip Kelly plans to exploit this season. Kelly said opposing defenses played a [ More ]

Thaddeus LewisJul 22 11:03p

Buffalo Bills QB Thaddeus Lewis and WR Tori Gurley had miscommunications on three occasions Tuesday, July 22, resulting in two incomplete passes and an interception. Joe Buscaglia of WGR [ More ]

Thaddeus LewisJul 22 10:53p

Buffalo Bills QB Thaddeus Lewis and QB Jeff Tuel are in an open competition for the backup quarterback job, head coach Doug Marrone said Tuesday, July 22.

Brian MoormanJul 22 10:43p

Buffalo Bills P Brian Moorman was more effective than P Jake Dombrowski on punts in terms of both average hang time and average distance Tuesday, July 22.

Titus YoungJul 22 09:53p

Updating a previous story, free-agent WR Titus Young (Lions) was charged with felony battery with serious bodily injury from an alleged July 8 incident inside a Los Angeles-area hospital. [ More ]

Ryan MathewsJul 22 09:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews' rookie contract will expire after the 2014 season, which means this could be his final year with the organization, in the opinion of [ More ]

Mario WilliamsJul 22 09:43p

Buffalo Bills DE Mario Williams, DT Marcell Dareus and DT Kyle D. Williams were all rotated out of the lineup at times during team drills Tuesday, July 22. LB [ More ]

Nigel BradhamJul 22 09:23p

Buffalo Bills LB Nigel Bradham was one of eight players to record sacks during team drills Tuesday, July 22. The team's pass rush has been consistent since camp began, [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group