Steelers release LB James Harrison, activate OT Marcus Gilbert


The Pittsburgh Steelers announced on Saturday that they have released longtime linebacker James Harrison.

As part of this roster move, offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert has been activated from the reserve/suspended by commissioner list.

Harrison has 80.5 career sacks with the Steelers, but his playing time was significantly diminished this season, as he played just 40 snaps through five games. Harrison then spent one year with the Cincinnati Bengals before returning to Pittsburgh midway through the 2014 season following a brief retirement. Without any role on special teams and virtually nothing on defense even when active, the Steelers made the cold, calculated decision to let him go.

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The 39-year-old had seen his role with the team at right outside linebacker take a significant drop with rookie T.J. Watt assuming the starting role. For the next five years, he recorded at least 8.5 sacks and notched a whopping 16 in 2008, for which he was named Defensive Player Of The Year.

And so just like that, one of the best players in recent Steelers history is a free agent.