52. James Harrison

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52. James Harrison

James Harrison went undrafted from Kent State in 2002 and while he played well there he did not gain a lot of looks from NFL scouts who feared that he was to short (6’ 0) and too light (240 lbs) to be an effective Linebacker at football’s highest level.  The Steelers gave him a shot and he was and on an off their practice squad for two years, including a stint on Baltimore’s practice squad and also a run with Rhine Fire in NFL Europe but he while he was impressing athletically he was labelled a head case by some for getting confused in practice sessions and giving up on plays.  Something clicked in 2004 and he made the Steelers roster for good playing Special Teams and coming off the bench but in 2007 he made the jump to starting Right Outside Linebacker and would be named to the Pro Bowl.  That was good, and had his career ended there it would have still been great considering where he came from but as Steelers fans would see they hadn’t seen anything yet!

Deebo would have an incredible 2008 where he was a First Team All Pro, had a career high 16 Quarterback Sacks and would lead the National Football League in Forced Fumbles and Approximate Value while also winning the prestigious Defensive Player of the Year Award.  More importantly he would lead the defensive team in a win at Super Bowl XLIII and was returned an interception for a touchdown that day, though he still might be winded from it!  Harrison went to the Pro Bowl the next three years, with a second First Team All Pro nod and he helped them reach (though they lost to Green Bay) Super Bowl XLV.

Harrison signed with the Cincinnati Bengals for 2013 and retired shortly after only to return to Pittsburgh until he was released late in the season in 2017.  He finished his career playing with the New England Patriots that year where he helped them reach the Super Bowl.

Harrison retired with 84.5 Quarterback Sacks but as an elite player for only five years and wither average or mediocre for the rest of it a Hall of Fame selection might be hard but any former Defensive Player of the Year should receive consideration.

The Bullet Points

  • Country of Origin: Akron, Ohio, U.S.A.
  • Eligible Since: Sunday, 01 January 2023
  • Position: Linebacker
  • Games Played: 193
  • Notable Statistics: 8 Interceptions
    95 Interception Return Yards
    34 Forced Fumbles
    9 Fumble Recoveries
    0 Fumble Recovery Yards
    1 Fumble Recovery Touchdown
    84.5 Quarterback Sacks
    811 Combined Tackles
    583 Solo Tackles
    228 Assisted Tackles
    128 Tackles for Loss
    150 Quarterback Hits*
    1 Punt Return
    1 Punt Return Yard
    1 Kick Return 
    -2 Kick Return Yards
    110 Approximate Value

    22 Playoff Games
    1 Interception
    100 Interception Return Yards
    1 Interception Reurn Touchdown
    1 Forced Fumble
    11.0 Quarterback Sacks
    93 Combined Tackles
    67 Solo Tackles
    26 Assisted Tackles
    14 Tackles for Loss
    21 Quarterback Hits*

    *Quarterback Hits became an official statistic in 2006.
  • Played For: Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • College: Kent State
  • Drafted: Undrafted in 2002
  • Major Accolades and Awards: Super Bowl Champion (2) (Pittsburgh Steelers XL & XLIII)
    AP Defensive Player of the Year (1) (2008)
    PFWA Defensive Player of the Year (1) (2008)
    First Team All-Pro (2) (2008 & 2010)
    Second Team All-Pro (2) (2007 & 2009)
    Pro Bowl (5) (2007, 2008, 2009, 2019 & 2011)
    Most Forced Fumbles (1) (2008)
  • Other Points of Note: Top Ten Finishes: Approximate Value (2) (2008 & 2010)
    Top Ten Finishes: Tackles for Loss (2) (2008 & 2009)
    Top Ten Finishes: Forced Fumbles (4) (2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010)
    Top Ten Finishes: Quarterback Sacks (1) (2008)
  • Notable All Time Rankings: 18. Forced Fumbles: 34
    19. Tackles for Loss: 128
    98. Quarterback Sacks: 84.5*

    *Quarterback Sack rankings include Pro Football Reference's unofficial calculation from 1960 to 1981.

Should James Harrison be in the Hall of Fame?

Definitely put him in! - 73.3%
Maybe, but others deserve it first. - 20%
Probably not, but it wouldn't be the end of the world. - 6.7%
No opinion. - 0%
No way! - 0%
Last modified on Tuesday, 21 March 2023 21:40

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