The Pittsburgh Steelers coaches still want linebacker James Harrison back for another season even though his contract situation could make that a challenge, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Harrison will turn 35 in May, but he matched Lawrence Timmons for the team lead in sacks with six despite missing the first three games with a knee injury.
Harrison may have to take a pay cut to stay with the team, though. The The Steelers are about $14 million over the salary cap, and they could get $5.1 million in cap relief by releasing Harrison.
The Steelers coaches still hope Harrison can team with LaMarr Woodley for a productive 2013 season, according to the report.
They combined for 27.5 sacks in 2008, 23.5 in 2009, 20.5 in 2010 and 18 in 2011 when both missed significant time to injuries.
They had just 10 between them in 2012.
According to the Post-Gazette, the Steelers believe Woodley needs to be more diligent in his offseason workouts to avoid some of the injuries that have hurt his production in recent years.
"He was awful," one anonymous teammate told the Post-Gazette regarding Woodley's 2012 performance. "He tells us he works out, but we didn't see it. He wasn't in shape. That has to be a reason why he was always hurt."
Woodley signed a six-year, $61.5 million deal before the start of the 2011 season.