Tomlin On Harrison: 'Simple And Easy'

Steelers coach explains decision to sign James Harrison and the immediate plans.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called the signing of James Harrison, "a simple and easy decision for us."

And on Tuesday, Tomlin explained why signing the 36-year-old who ranks fourth on the team's all-time sacks list was so "simple and easy":

"We know James; James knows us. James understands how we desire to play defense. He understands the scheme. We're not going to assume he's up to speed on the schematics. It's been over 12 months since he's been a part of us, so we're going to respect that.

"His level of participation will be determined by what he can execute and his level of conditioning. So I don't have the answer to the amount of participation that we're going to have from him this week, if any, or any upcoming weeks, because we're going to play it by ear. We're going to see what he's capable of handling from a mental standpoint and from a physical standpoint, a conditioning standpoint, and let that be our guide.

"It'll be no different than the process we went through in re-acclimating Brett Keisel."

Keisel, also 36, signed Aug. 19 and started a preseason game in place of Cameron Heyward nine days later. But Keisel has yet to start a regular season game, although he's taking part in more snaps than Cam Thomas.

Expect a similar scenario to unfold with Harrison and Arthur Moats to replace the injured Jarvis Jones at right OLB.

Tomlin confirmed Tuesday that Moats will start Sunday against Tampa Bay. But Tomlin only hinted, at other positions, that Sean Spence would replace Ryan Shazier and Antwon Blake would become the first cornerback in sub-packages to replace Ike Taylor.

"The way we ended the game Sunday is how we start, moving forward," Tomlin said. "But we're not going to close the door on any developments."

Tomlin said that Shazier has a sprained right knee, reportedly an MCL sprain, and only that he's out this week. Sprained MCLs generally cause players to miss two to four weeks.

Jones underwent right wrist surgery "a couple of days ago," according to Tomlin and will be re-evaluated next week. Jones is on injured reserve with a designation to return to practice in six weeks and game action in eight weeks, if recovered.

Taylor underwent surgery for a right forearm fracture with a plate installed. He'll be kept on the roster. The general recovery period for his injury is two to three months, although Tomlin wouldn't put a time frame on the recovery.

Tomlin also expects running back Dri Archer and left guard Ramon Foster to return to practice Wednesday and play Sunday.

As for Lance Moore, the slot receiver who expected to play more than one snap in Carolina, Tomlin said Moore "has to jump on a moving train" and do something to win his job back from Justin Brown.

Tomlin ruled out one other linebacker, and that was his assistant coach, Joey Porter, who was flattened on the sideline in Carolina by a Heyward chest bump.

"That was pretty funny," Tomlin said. "I think Joey's figuring out his playing days are behind him. We won't be signing Joey."

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