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mesaSteeler
11-03-2009, 10:39 PM
Steelers Harrison back with a vengeance
November 3, 8:30 AMPittsburgh Sports Examiner
Matt Pawlikowski
http://www.examiner.com/x-2703-Pittsburgh-Sports-Examiner~y2009m11d3-Steelers-Harrison-back--with-a-vengeance

When it comes to the Steelers defense, Troy Polamalu gets most of the recognition but a key cog without a doubt is linebacker James Harrison.

Last year, Harrison was named the NFL defensive player of the year for good reason. He amassed 16 sacks, breaking the team record set by Mike Merriweather in 1987. He also set a Super Bowl record with his 100 yard interception return that was critical in helping the Steelers to its sixth Lombardi trophy.

After a slow start, where Harrison didn't have a sack and only had three pressures, many thought that blocking tactics which were deemed legal by the league, basically holding without the call due to a clothesline was the culprit.

Well guess what? Doesn't matter. Harrison is back with a vengeance.

The 6 -foot linebacker is currently tied for second in the league with eight sacks. He recorded two sacks in last Sunday's 27-17 win against Minnesota at Heinz Field and he is a big reason the Steelers are ranked second in the NFL in rushing defense (76.6 yards per game).

His efforts during the month of October, which included 25 total tackles, seven sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery earned him October's AFC defensive player of the month.

So what makes Harrison tough as nails on the field?

"He's a guy who plays with great leverage, he's very quick, very explosive and strong," said Browns All-tackle Joe Thomas. "He really gets under players' pads and uses his quickness and strength to get around tackles and to go through guys at times."

NOTES:

The Steelers are back on the field following the bye week and Mike Tomlin will address the media this afternoon from the South Side to discuss the Denver game.

Three players did not participate in practice on Monday. Defensive end Travis Kirschke (lower leg) and outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons (ankle) and Willie Parker were out. Parker has an illness and is expected to play, while Timmons and Kirschke are both up in the air.