According to Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor, linebacker James Harrison and wide receiver Santonio Holmes want to return to the team. Taylor told TribLive Radio, “Both of them want to come back to the Steelers.”
Neither Harrison nor Holmes have confirmed Taylor’s assertion, but given the downward trajectory of their respective careers since leaving Pittsburgh, a desire to return would make sense. Particularly for Holmes, whose once promising career was completely derailed in New York.
Harrison was signed as a free agent by the Steelers in 2004, he went undrafted out of Kent State in 2002. After three years as a backup, Harrison finally earned the starting job and emerged as one of the most dominating physical forces in the game.
By the end of the 2012 season Harrison’s production had sharply declined and the Steelers, recognizing the situation wasn’t temporary, attempted to negotiate a pay cut. The two sides couldn’t agree to terms. Harrison was then released and signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in March 2013.
Holmes was drafted out of Ohio State by the Steelers No. 25 overall in the 2006 NFL Draft. He improved in each of his four seasons in Pittsburgh and was named the MVP of Super Bowl XLIII in 2009.
That year Holmes had the best season of his career to date, but was shipped off to the New York Jets via trade in the offseason after some unsavory behavior soured perception of him within the organization. In four seasons with the Jets, Holmes’ best year was less productive than his worst with the Steelers.
Despite whatever desire these two have to return to the nest, it doesn’t look like the Steelers are interested. It’s clear that Harrison’s career is over—he may not be ready to accept that, but the writing has been on the wall for some time now.
As for Holmes, given his struggles with injuries in recent years and history of run ins with the law, it’s hard to imagine a Pittsburgh homecoming is in the cards. The Steelers have already signed free agents Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey, and they recently drafted Martavias Bryant out of Clemson in the fourth round.
Ah well. Better luck next time, fellas.