As the Days of our Pittsburgh Steelers continue, the drama picks up right before Christmas. With two games left in the regular season, the Steelers are exploring all options as they head into the playoffs. There are a lot of egos on the team, and some of them may end up being rubbed the wrong way as this team looks to push into the playoffs as a lean unit. This meant the releasing of a long time veteran and potential Hall of Fame candidate.
The Steelers released James Harrison. The team had to make a decision to bring Marcus Gilbert back, who was dealing with a suspension. Many would not have guessed it was Harrison that would have been the correlating move. However, when looking into the situation is it really that surprising?
He has been inactive for over a month now. He has only been active for five games this season and has played 40 snaps. Harrison came out in the media and said he wished he didn’t re-sign with the Steelers. He clearly did not think T.J. Watt would progress this quickly and was having a hard time dealing with the fact that the team did not need him. Harrison does not play special teams, Watt and Bud Dupree are full-time starters, and even their roles are limited a bit as they look to beef up the middle due to the loss of Shazier. Harrison was never going to take another snap for the Steelers if he stayed on the roster. He was a fifth string player.
Due to the Steelers questions at other positions, and his tension with the front office and coaching staff, it actually does make sense. It turned into a huge elephant in the room. How awkward was it going to be when he was inactive for playoff games? How about the Super Bowl? While it is unfortunate that he was not able to go out the way that he and the fans had envisioned, it is not a move that actually will impact the team.
Other news coming out of Pittsburgh is that the team is debating benching Artie Burns. Burns has really struggled over the past month or so. When Joe Haden went down, teams began picking on Coty Sensabaugh, making life easier for Burns. However, when Cam Sutton replaced Sensabaugh, teams went right back to picking on Burns. Given this interesting revelation, that teams had more fear of the rookie than Burns, the Steelers truly may be better off starting Sutton and Joe Haden next to each other. It at least would be a chance for Burns to clear his head, because most of his issues this season have been mental. This is not calling him a bust, but rather saying he needs a breather.