The Pittsburgh Steelers have made a number of changes this offseason, one of the biggest being the departure of linebacker James Harrison, who was released last month, but expressed interest in returning to the team.
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According to ESPN.com, despite his interest, the Steelers have closed the door on the possibility of bringing Harrison back, as they feel comfortable finding a replacement in the draft or in free agency. One of those options could be former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, who could not come to an agreement with the team and is now looking for a new home.
According to ESPN reporter Ed Werder, Urlacher has a "few teams" interested in him and although no deal is imminent, one could be from the Steelers. The website SteelersGab.com reports that the team may meet with Urlacher and after the news with Harrison, he could be a good fit and a veteran presence on the defense.
"A few teams interested in Brian Urlacher but nothing imminent and no visits arranged yet #bears #nfl," Werder wrote on Twitter.
The 34-year-old spent his first 13 seasons with the bears after being drafted in the first round and despite dealing with injuries over the past couple years, Urlacher said he will be healthy and ready for the 2013 season. The eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker was looking for a $3.5 million deal from the Bears, but he would like get less than that now that the market has cooled.
The Bears offered Urlacher a one-year, $2 million deal after he played in 12 games in 2012, but the linebacker felt that the offer was a slap in the face. The Steelers are dealing with some issues with long-time linebacker of their own, as Harrison has expressed interest in returning, but the team has no interest the other way, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Harrison has had a rough time finding a new home and it was once thought that the Baltimore Ravens could be a destination, but after signing Elvis Dumervil, the team likely won't go after Harrison. The Ravens lost a number of players to free agency, including Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and Ed Reed. The Steelers are planning to use Jason Worilds to replace Harrison and could grab another linebacker with a draft pick.
"I believe that Jason Worilds is champing at the bit to prove he is capable of being that," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said last week at the NFL owners meetings.
The five time Pro Bowl linebacker was set to make $6.57 million in 2013 before being released, as the Steelers needed some salary cap relief. ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter said Harrison has expressed interest in returning, but after playing in 13 and 11 games over the past two seasons, the Steelers felt ready to move on.
Urlacher played in 12 games last season, but he is expected to be healthy after coming off of a year when he had 68 total tackles, one interception and a touchdown.