Former New England Patriots offensive lineman calls Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison's level of play at age 38 'impressive' | Sports News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Former New England Patriots offensive lineman calls Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison's level of play at age 38 'impressive'

click to enlarge James Harrison - CP PHOTO BY LUKE THOR TRAVIS
CP Photo by Luke Thor Travis
James Harrison
Despite being the same age, there aren’t many similarities between Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison and former New England Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light.

For example, Light, 38, was drafted in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft, started in his rookie year and even won a Super Bowl (the Patriots’ first). Harrison, on the other hand, went undrafted in 2002; was signed by the Steelers and released three times before signing with the Baltimore Ravens in 2003; assigned to NFL Europe; and released again. Harrison was about to quit playing football before resigning with the Steelers and eventually becoming a regular starter when the Steelers cut Joey Porter in 2007; he then achieved a high level of success, including a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII.

The other big difference? Light has been reti
Photo Courtesy of the Light Foundation
Matt Light
red for five years and Harrison is still playing at a high level, a fact not lost on the former Patriots lineman.

“There isn’t a person out there following the NFL that shouldn’t be surprised at the way James is playing; it's impressive,” Light said during an interview with City Paper Monday. Light’s foundation is holding a raffle to win a weekend in Boston to watch the AFC Championship game between the Steelers and the Patriots. The contest is open to Steelers fans, and you can find more information here and in the City Paper out Jan. 18. “There aren’t a lot of guys who could play that outside linebacker position at 38 years old. And not only is he still playing, he’s playing really well."

“He’s not a prototypical linebacker in terms of size, but he’s got so many other immeasureables; he’s physical, extremely smart and his work ethic is contagious.”

After the Steelers 18-16 win in Kansas City, for example, the team got back to town at 3:45 a.m. Harrison drove from the airport to straight to the Steelers training facility to work out.

“James is a worker; he hustles on every single play,” Light said. “I’ve had my hands full with him many times over the year. You have to dial it up another notch to play James Harrison. Whether he won or I won, at the end of the day, I knew I was in a battle.”

The Steelers will take on the Patriots in the AFC Championship at 5:40 p.m. Sunday on CBS.

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