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Harrison a longshot to return to Steelers

5/20/2014

PITTSBURGH -- An injury-plagued wide receiver who has already worn out his welcome once in Pittsburgh returning to the Steelers?

To borrow from Santonio Holmes' most recent NFL home -- where the former New York Jet trampled on another welcome -- fuhgeddaboudit.

Truth be told, the chances of James Harrison returning to the Steelers aren't that much better than Holmes' even though veteran cornerback Ike Taylor said on TribLive Radio that each would like to wear black and gold again.

Harrison turned 36 earlier this month and is not a special teams player at this point of his decorated career. The Steelers are committed to Jason Worilds and Jarvis Jones at outside linebacker. And they found a mentor for the outside linebackers who have 24 career sacks among them when they hired Joey Porter as a defensive assistant coach.

Plus, Harrison is a different kind of leader. The five-time Pro Bowler sets a shining example with how he pushes himself to the brink -- whether he is training or chasing down quarterbacks. He is not the type to throw an arm around a younger player and offer pointers.

So what are the odds of Harrison returning to the Steelers for a second stint in Pittsburgh? Probably about as slim as a goal post even with the Steelers thin at outside linebacker.

The Steelers simply reach a point of no return with players when they hit a certain juncture of their career. That is taking nothing away from Harrison, who deserves to be remembered as an all-time great in Pittsburgh.

But it is also too early to completely rule out his return.

An injury could change the Steelers' outlook at outside linebacker. They may also decide they need more help there after offseason practices or during training camp at some point.

By all accounts, Harrison is in terrific shape, and he has been training in Arizona while hoping to get a call from an NFL team.

That call isn't likely to come from the Steelers. And if it does, it won't be in June but rather late July or early August.