James Harrison knows his NFL clock is ticking, but it doesn’t appear the veteran linebacker is willing to call it quits just yet.
Harrison had a new lease on his football life in late December. Days after being released by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Harrison signed with the New England Patriots, with whom he’s made an immediate impact. Through three games with the Patriots, including two playoff contests, Harrison has played 89 defensive snaps and racked up 11 tackles.
While hoisting the Lombardi Trophy would be a storybook ending to a brilliant career, Super Bowl LII likely won’t be Harrison’s last NFL game, as he recently explained to ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
“I maybe want to play a year at 40, maybe 41,” Harrison told Reiss.
So, it sounds like Harrison could be hanging around the league for two more seasons. But the 39-year-old still has a promise to uphold with his eldest son, who has a legitimate reason for wanting his dad to hang up his cleats.
“But at some point in time, I’m going to have to stop (playing),” Harrison said. “I told my son (James III) he could play contact football when I stop, so I’m going to have to give it up in the near future, so he can start getting adjusted to playing. I don’t want him to wait too long.
“He’s already 10, and then he’ll be playing against kids who have been doing it for four or five years, contact football, and they’ll know how to take a hit and give a hit. To have a kid come into high school, or even be 14, 15 years old and have been playing since they were 10, that puts him at a disadvantage, especially just safety-wise.”
Harrison will become a free agent at season’s end, and it remains to be seen what kind of interest he’ll generate on the open market. A monster performance on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis certainly wouldn’t hurt his case.