By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Most NFL linebackers don’t last in professional football through into their 40s. Most NFL linebackers are not James Harrison.
Harrison, who made his NFL debut in 2002, plans to play in the 2018 season, according to ESPN Steelers reporter Jeremy Fowler. The report added that the Steelers are not in on Harrison, but the Patriots have reached out during free agency, as have several other teams.
Harrison will turn 40 on May 4, but he showed in his brief stint with the Patriots that he still has the capability of playing in the NFL. He recorded two sacks in the final minutes of his lone regular-season game with the Patriots, and he ended up being on the field for 91 percent of New England’s defensive snaps in Super Bowl LII. He recorded eight total tackles — seven solo — in the Patriots’ three playoff games.
With Harrison planning on signing with a team after the draft, his potential spot on the Patriots likely depends on which players the Patriots end up drafting. And if Harrison doesn’t find any takers this spring, his Instagram feed makes it fairly clear that he intends on staying in playing shape and will likely be ready to sign at any time for a team that suffers an injury on its defense.
In his career, Harrison has played in 215 games (regular and postseason combined), 195 of which came with the Steelers. He spent all or parts of 14 seasons with the Steelers. He played the 2013 season for the Bengals, and he joined the Patriots late in the 2017 season.