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Patriots’ James Harrison wants to play one or two more years

A week ahead of the third Super Bowl of his career, New England Patriots outside linebacker James Harrison made it clear that he plans to play at least one more season, and possibly two.

From ESPN’s Mike Reiss:

“I maybe want to play a year at 40, maybe 41,” he told me this week.

Harrison was cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers after being a healthy scratch for most of the season, but he’s carved a nice role for himself with the Patriots. In his debut against the New York Jets, the Kent State product collected five tackles and two sacks.

At 39, Harrison is proving that he still has a lot of value for teams struggling to create pressure off the edge in passing situations. In three games with New England, he’s essentially doubled his total snap count with 89 while filling one of the few holes on the Patriots’ roster.

The desire to perform on the field still burns within Harrison, but he acknowledged that he likely won’t stay in the league beyond two years.

“But at some point in time, I’m going to have to stop [playing],” he said, explaining why it’s probably two years maximum. “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.

Where Harrison lands beyond this season is up in the air for now. He’s returned to Pittsburgh in the past after spending some time with another rival (the Cincinnati Bengals), but it doesn’t appear that history will repeat itself. Harrison temporarily retired in 2014, but he re-signed with the Steelers just a few weeks later after major injuries to their defense.