Steelers notebook: Harrison will play fewer snaps this season
By Ralph N. Paulk
Saturday, May 2, 2015
Linebacker coach Joey Porter said Saturday that veteran linebacker James Harrison can expect to play only about 25 snaps per game this season.
It's a surprising number, considering the 36-year-old linebacker could start at right outside linebacker.
“He knows where he is,” Porter said shortly after the Steelers drafted Miami (Fla.) outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo on the final day of the NFL Draft. “I told him already, the James Harrison (of before) is over.
“He's going to play his role, and his role is going to be effective. He knows what we're asking out of him, and he's going to be ready to answer the bell.”
Harrison, who turns 37 on Monday, had 432 snaps in 11 games last season. He had 45 tackles and 5˝ sacks, which was third best behind Jason Worilds and Cam Heyward.
“Harrison is going to be a better player for us if I keep his snap count down to 25,” Porter said. “I'll get the best James Harrison I can out of him instead of trying to make him play like he was — 25–60 snaps a game.”
Porter said he told Harrison he wasn't going to play an entire game anymore. Harrison, who signed a two-year, $2.75 million deal in March, said his only demand was that Porter and defensive coordinator Keith Butler let him know his potential snap count before game time.
“If you go into games not knowing your situation, then you run into situations,” Porter said. “I just tell him exactly what it is.”