James Harrison has decided to retire after 11 seasons in the NFL — now it is time to see if his resume is good enough to get him into Canton.
The longtime Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker was best known for rumbling 100 yards in a Super Bowl win against the Arizona Cardinals, scoring a critical touchdown as time expired at the end of the first half.
Though he was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, James Harrison had a quiet start in the NFL. He was originally undrafted coming out of Kent State, and picked up by the Steelers in 2002. After two years on the practice squad and signing with the Baltimore Ravens after being cut by the Steelers, Harrison came back to Pittsburgh before the 2004 season. It wasn’t until 2007 that he became a full-time starter.
Harrison had met with the Arizona Cardinals, but failed to reach a contract.
On Saturday, Harrison announced his retirement.
“I have made the difficult decision to retire as of today,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “My love for my family and the need to be there for them outweighs my desire to play the game. I have missed too many experiences with them because I devoted SO much time to my career. My love for the game isn’t strong enough to make up for missing one more birthday or first day of school. I am retiring as a man who is truly grateful for all of his blessings.”
The announcement kicked off debate over whether James Harrison has the resume for the Hall of Fame. In an analysis from 2011, Bleacher Report put his odds at greater than 50 percent, noting:
James Harrison has been somewhat understated during a brilliant NFL career that has featured multiple awards and Super Bowl wins. He may suffer from other talented players of this Steelers team making the Hall (Polamalu, Roethlisberger).
James Harrison ended his 11-year career with 472 tackles, 66 sacks, six interceptions and 22 forced fumbles.