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Old 04-15-2009, 12:30 AM   #1
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Default Parise man behind Harrison's money

Parise man behind Harrison's money

By Mike Bires, Times Sports Staff
Published: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 11:57 PM EDT

PITTSBURGH — In his own way, Bill Parise is part of Steelers history. He’s the man who helped orchestrate James Harrison’s record-setting contract.

For close to two months, Parise haggled with Steeler negotiators in making sure his client got the best deal possible. Ultimately, it turned out be just that.

Not only does Harrison’s contract make him the highest-paid defensive player in franchise history, it also makes him one of the highest-paid linebackers in NFL history.

“The cards I was playing with really weren’t the best,” said Parise, the executive director at the YMCA of Beaver County and a sports agent who represents Harrison. “But I had the best card going … the (NFL) Defensive Player of the Year, James Harrison. In this case, talent really won. It’s a great feel-good story. It really is.”

Harrison’s contract — $51.175 million over six years including $20 million in guaranteed bonuses — is especially noteworthy because Harrison will be 31 on May 4.

“If you look at history, and I’ve spent a lot of time looking at history, the Steelers don’t sign a lot of 30-year old linebackers,” Parise said.

Well, the Steelers certainly don’t pay 30-something linebackers the kind of money Harrison got ... especially when they have one year left on their existing contract.

Last August, 33-year-old inside ‘backer James Farrior got a five-year deal, but it was for “only” $18.25 million, a $5 million signing bonus included.

Two years ago, the Steelers severed ties with Joey Porter, a star outside linebacker who was 31 at the time. But the Miami Dolphins were willing to sign Porter to a five-year deal worth $32 million, including a $12 million signing bonus and $8 million more in guaranteed money.

“Two months ago I was sitting at a table at the Pro Bowl (in Hawaii) with Joey Porter,” Parise said. “He’s obviously still a pretty good player, a Pro Bowler. But James Harrison is the best defensive player in the NFL.”

While Parise was a little worried about Harrison’s age, he admitted that talks with Omar Khan, the Steelers’ lead negotiator, sometimes got difficult because of labor issues between the players and the league. Unless the owners and the players association settle on a new bargaining agreement, 2009 will be the last season with a salary cap.

“The uncapped year (in 2010) was definitely a stumbling block,” Parise said.

Still, Parise and Khan were eventually able to hammer out a deal that made both parties happy.

Parise said that the final total of $51.175 million was just $85,000 shy of his original offer.

“I don’t know if it’s really sunk in yet,” Harrison said. “It is a lot of money. I guess it will (sink) in once I get my hands on it.”

In negotiating Harrison’s contract, Parise used the contract inside linebacker Bart Scott got from the New York Jets as a measuring stick. Scott left the Baltimore Ravens as an unrestricted free agent by signing a six-year, $48 million deal with the Jets including $22 million in guaranteed cash.

“I certainly researched that contract a lot,” Parise said. “I had the contract (figures) of every linebacker in the NFL. I had the contracts for the top 10 defensive players in the league. I had the contracts of every Steeler. That’s the research I was able to go in with.”

Most importantly, Parise had a client coming off one of the greatest two-year stretches in franchise history.

Back-to-back team MVP honors.

Back-to-back Pro Bowl appearances.

NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2008, and a record-setting 100-yard interception return in the Steelers’ win in Super Bowl XLIII.

“The Steelers didn’t have to do this,” Parise said. “Remember, James had one year left on his contract. And he is going to be 31, But in this case, talent won out.”
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Old 04-15-2009, 11:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Parise man behind Harrison's money

Piss on this guy. Who cares about the agent? He gets $5 million for basically being a whiny little bitch for two months. Harrison could've gotten similar money from two dozen teams even if his agent was a complete dumbf**k.
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