Outside linebacker James Harrison was passed over in the 2002 draft coming out of Kent State. He spent the rest of his career making every other team pay for that.
The longtime Steelers linebacker was 2008 NFL defensive player of the year, and his 100-yard interception return for a touchdown on the final play of the first half of Super Bowl XLIII will go down as one of the greatest plays in NFL history.
But at age 36, he had enough. Harrison met with the Arizona Cardinals this week, but both sides couldn't work out a deal. So on Saturday, Harrison announced he was retiring on his Facebook page, and cited family reasons:
"I have made the difficult decision to retire as of today. 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. I am sincerely thankful to the people who have supported me over the years, first and foremost my family, the Rooney family and my Steeler family, also Mr. Brown, the Bengals organization and fans, and last but FAR from least, Steeler Nation. Thank you."
That wraps up a remarkable career, of which he spent 10 years with the Steelers and one with the Bengals. Harrison also had a controversial career, with multiple fines for illegal helmet-to-helmet hits, and was finally suspended one game for an illegal hit on then-Browns quarterback Colt McCoy in 2011. But that mean streak that cost Harrison a lot of money in fines also helped make him one of the most relentless linebackers of his era.
Harrison is finished in the NFL, but history will remember him as one of the greatest undrafted players in league history.
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