- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Philadelphia Eagles have not yet reached out to veteran linebacker James Harrison, who was cut last week by the Pittsburgh Steelers. And they may not. But it appears clear from Harrison's end that he would take the call if they did. This is from Tim MacManus at Birds 24/7:
“They are one of the teams that we have talked about,” said Harrison’s agent, Bill Parise. “I think the Eagles would be a good fit with his skill set and what they want to do there.”
“With the coaching staff and personnel there, rebuilding won’t last long,” said Parise. “Philadelphia is a great, supportive town and the coaching staff is outstanding. It won’t scare us that they were not a playoff team last year. I think, frankly, it might be a really good place to go.”
Which is exciting, if you're an Eagles fan and you think Harrison's well-established brand of on-field meanness looks like something your defense has been missing in recent years. Unquestionably, as the Eagles appear to be making the switch to some form of 3-4 defensive alignment, someone who plays the way Harrison did in his prime would be a great get -- a player who could help in myriad ways. On the field and off, he'd be a guy who commanded respect and set an example the coaches could be certain the other players would follow.
However, Harrison is going to turn 35 years old in May and obviously isn't the player he was during those Steelers Super Bowl runs. The Eagles are looking for younger, very fast players to help transition their defense and their team into the future under new coach Chip Kelly. It's hard to see how a 35-year-old linebacker whose success was built at least in part by his fearsome demeanor fits that plan if he's not the same player he used to be physically. I'd be surprised if the interest was mutual. It wouldn't be the first time in sports history that a GM or a coach got star-struck and signed a player because they'd long been admirers of him. But at this moment in franchise history, I don't think Harrison offers what the Eagles are looking for in their defensive rebuild.
51mEric D. Williams