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James Harrison Announces Retirement from NFL

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(WGGB) — One of the most intimidating presences in the NFL’s last few decades has called it quits.

Linebacker James Harrison announced Saturday that he plans to retire.

It comes after Harrison was released by the Cincinnati Bengals in March and just days after visiting with the Arizona Cardinals.

Harrison revealed that his 10th NFL season was his last in a post on his Facebook page.

“My love for my family and the need to be there for them outweighs my desire to play the game,” Harrison wrote. “I have missed too many experiences with them because I devoted SO much time to my career.”

Harrison spent all but one of those 10 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he anchored a stellar defense that helped win two Super Bowl Titles. The first came in Harrison’s second year in 2005. The second came in what was arguably Harrison’s finest season in 2008, when he recorded 16.5 sacks, 67 tackles, and 7 forced fumbles.

However, he faced some turmoil at the start of his career. He was released several times, before becoming a full-time starter at age 29. He would go on to make the Pro Bowl five times and win Defensive Player of the Year in 2008.

“My love for the game isn’t strong enough to make up for missing one more birthday or first day of school,” Harrison added on his Facebook page. Harrison’s retirement sets up an interesting discussion five years from now, when he is eligible for the Hall of Fame.

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