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Veteran linebacker James Harrison announces retirement

James Harrison

Veteran linebacker James Harrison has announced his retirement from the NFL for the second time. But he says this time, it’s for good. The soon-to-be 40-year-old announced his decision to retire on Instagram with a post that has a photo collage of his two children and includes the hashtag #2ndAndFinalRetirement.

“I’ve missed way too much for way too long…and I’m done. Many thanks to my family, coaches, the fans, and everyone who played a role in my football life,” Harrison said.

Harrison when undrafted when he came into the league back in 2002. He bounced around between the Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, and the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe for a couple of years before finally catching on in his second spell with the Steelers in 2004.

Harrison eventually established himself as one of the league’s top defensive stars with the Steelers. He was a Pro Bowler for five straight seasons from 2007-2011, a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2008 and 2010, and the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2008.

After a one-year stint with the Cincinnati Bengals, Harrison returned to Pittsburgh in August 2014 and announced in September that he would retire as a Steeler. However, he had a change of heart and continued to play on for a few more seasons.

But after barely featuring with the team last season, Harrison was released and subsequently signed with the New England Patriots to help them during their run to the Super Bowl.

Harrison, who was a free agent, had recently said he’d wait until after the NFL Draft to decide which team he’d play for next season. But apparently, he had another change of heart.

Harrison ends his career with 15-year NFL career with 795 career tackles, 84.5 sacks, and eight interceptions in 193 games. He’s the Steelers’ all-time leading sacks leader with 80.5 sacks.