The 2012 NFL season ended in disappointment for the Pittsburgh Steelers after the team failed to capitalize on an opportunity to get back into the race for the AFC North division title around midseason.
The Steelers dealt with multiple injury problems to some of the team’s best players on both sides of the football throughout the season. With Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace, James Harrison and Troy Polamalu all missing time, Pittsburgh simply couldn’t turn things around .
All the injuries turned out to be too much to recover from for the Steelers and ultimately ended the season for the AFC heavyweight with the Steelers missing the NFL playoffs.
Heading into the off-season, the Steelers have a few decisions to make a few of the team’s important players. Wide receiver Mike Wallace is set to hit free agency in March and linebacker James Harrison will not be willing to take a pay cut if asked according to John Harris of Triblive.com:
Steelers linebacker James Harrison is willing to restructure his contract. Smart man.
Harrison won’t take a pay cut, however, and that stubborn streak could make him an ex-Steeler.
Harrison is scheduled to earn $6.57 million in 2013 and $7.57 million in ’14. That’s a big salary-cap number for a pass-rusher who turns 35 in May, is coming off knee surgery a year ago and is two years removed from two back surgeries.
The veteran linebacker had a breakout season in 2008 winning the Defensive Player of the Year award, recording a career-high 16.0 sacks and made history by picking off Kurt Warner of the Arizona Cardinals for a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
Since the win over the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, Harrison hasn’t been able to put up comparable numbers for the Steelers. Harrison’s numbers have declined gradually over the past four seasons with the veteran riddled by back and knee injuries.
Despite the injuries, Harrison is still one of the best linebackers in the league and will be a loss for the Steelers if the two sides decide to part ways with Harrison’s reluctance to take a pay cut.