Harrison not back to usual condition

August 31
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Usually, not many Steelers players, if any, are in better shape than James Harrison, their four-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker. Especially this time of year.

But these have not been usual times for Harrison, which he has quickly -- and somewhat agonizingly -- discovered.

Like the rest of the players in the NFL, Harrison did not have an offseason of workouts, practice sessions and minicamps with his teammates because of the lockout. But even if there were offseason training activities, he likely would have been unable to participate after having double back surgery in March.

Harrison has had a tough time getting back in shape after his surgery, and it was apparent in the victory Saturday night against the Atlanta Falcons, when he played longer than in either of the two previous games and was noticeably fatigued.

He often was breathing heavily and had a difficult time pressuring quarterback Matt Ryan.

"He's looking like he was tired out there," said inside linebacker James Farrior, the defensive captain.

"He's not where he wants to be, he'll tell you that," said linebackers coach Keith Butler. "It's not where he usually is before a season. He's usually in better shape than anybody, but the back surgery slowed him down a little.""