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fordfixer
09-14-2009, 12:39 AM
Steelers linebacker continues to defy odds

By Scott Brown, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, September 14, 2009
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 42977.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_642977.html)

He is far from the most indispensable Steeler. But outside linebacker Arnold Harrison might qualify as the most inspirational player in the team's locker room.

That is because he made the Steelers as an undrafted free agent and then made his way back to them following two major injuries, including a torn anterior cruciate in his left knee that ended his 2008 season before it started.

Harrison showed last Thursday night that the second major knee injury he suffered in three years is but a distant memory.

He made a team-high three tackles on special teams (tied with Ryan Mundy) in the Steelers' 13-10 overtime victory against the Tennessee Titans. The fourth-year veteran covered kickoffs and punts with the kind of reckless abandon one would expect from someone who may well be playing with house money at this point of his career.

"I personally feel like, what do I have to be scared of?" Harrison said. "I've been at the bottom and come back twice. In life you have stumbles. You trip up sometimes. But tough times don't last, tough people do.

"I like to think of myself as being a tough person, so there was never a doubt in my mind that I was going to do everything to get back. To be back on this team is just awesome to me."

His teammates probably feel the same way.

When Harrison went down in the Steelers' final preseason game of 2008, fellow linebacker James Farrior helped walk him off the field, and he offered words of encouragement along the way.

Harrison leaned on players like Farrior and Keyaron Fox, whom he works out with in Atlanta in the offseason, during another arduous and monotonous rehabilitation process.

And Fox may have been as happy as Harrison when the latter found out on Aug. 29 that he had made the Steelers' 53-man roster.

"I think it lifted a lot of the pressure of him because he was kind of on the edge," Fox said. "For his second knee surgery, he really didn't show any signs of it at all. He battled like a warrior."

"You've got to be proud of the guy," added defensive tackle Chris Hoke.

Harrison attributed his coming back from two major knee injuries the 6-3, 241-pounder tore the ACL in his right knee in a 2006 game to hard work and being a fast healer.

"I'm a big faith guy, so negativity that creeps into your mind, personally, I just had to block it out of my mind," said Harrison, who signed with the Steelers as an undrafted rookie out of the University of Georgia in 2005. "I just pressed forward and said to myself, 'I'll be back.' "

He is back providing depth at outside linebacker, and making big hits on special teams, much more than sentiment, earned him a spot on the Steelers.

If Harrison ever doubted he would overcome the second knee injury, he didn't let on recently following a Steelers practice.

"I never even really look at the odds," Harrison said. "I just focus on myself."