Despite the fact that he is approaching his 39th birthday, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison has absolutely zero plans to retire from the NFL. Typically, players at his position do not continue to play in the league at his current age.
But Harrison is not a typical player and never has been. Maybe it has something to do with him always being able to overcome the odds that life has handed him.
From being youngest of 14 children, to having to walk on at Kent State University, to not being drafted, to playing football overseas before becoming a starter in the NFL, Harrison has found a way to prove his doubters wrong over and over again.
But 15 years after signing with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent, his career accomplishments measure up to some who already have been enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
He has been named to five Pro Bowls and two All-Pro first teams, helped lead Pittsburgh to two Super Bowl wins, and was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2008. All of this from a guy who NFL teams thought was too small to play in the league when he entered the draft in 2002.
During this most recent season with the Steelers, Harrison became the franchise’s all-time leader in total sacks. He also set the team’s all-time record for sacks in a single-season in 2008 when he finished the year with 16.
Considering the amount of greatness that has taken the field on defense for Pittsburgh in their history, to be arguably the franchise’s greatest pass rusher ever is quite the accomplishment for a player who almost quit football in 2004.
Many thought his career in the league was over after the 2013 season with the Cincinnati Bengals. But a call from the Steelers in 2014 has led to Harrison adding three more years on to his professional career. Regardless of how much longer he can actually continue playing football, the way he trains makes it seem like he will still be on the field well into his 40s.
When he finally does hang up his pads, Harrison has talked about becoming a veterinarian or a truck driver. Because why would he just relax and enjoy his retirement like a normal person? As we have already discussed previously, there is nothing normal about Mr. James Henry Harrison’s life and there never has been.