Report: James Harrison, Steelers share mutual interest in 2017 return

Aug 18, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison (92) looks on from the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran linebacker James Harrison will be 39 years old when the 2017 season begins, but he’s not interested in retiring just yet.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Harrison wants to return to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017, and the club is eager to have him.

Father Time will eventually catch up to the once undrafted free agent out of Kent State, but he’s still going strong as he approaches 40 (check this out).

Last season, appearing in 15 games and starting seven, he racked up 53 tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles during the regular season. In three postseason games, Harrison added another 15 tackles and 2.5 sacks, stepping his game up when his team needed him the most.

One of the reasons the Steelers want him back is that he’s a veteran everyone on the team respects. Another reason is that he’s still a productive player.

Another reason still — one that is troubling to Pittsburgh — is that the Steelers continue to struggle finding young outside linebackers who can consistently get to the passer. Bud Dupree has shown some promise, but others like Jarvis Jones have been bitter disappointments.

Until a new crop of playmakers rises up, we might see Harrison continue to stick around for a couple more years.