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Steelers sign LB Harrison to four-year contract

PITTSBURGH (April 13, 2006) -- Backup linebacker James Harrison signed a four-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers, even though he wouldn't have become a free agent until 2008.

Normally, NFL teams do not offer such terms to backup players who can cannot become free agents for several more seasons. However, Harrison started three games and had 45 tackles and three sacks last season for the Super Bowl-champion Steelers.

The 27-year-old Harrison went undrafted after playing at Kent State. But he made the Steelers roster in 2004 after being cut in 2002 and 2003 and spending parts of several seasons on their practice squad.

Steelers coach Bill Cowher repeatedly has talked about Harrison's ability to make plays when he has filled in for injured starters, including a monthlong stretch last season following outside linebacker Clark Haggans' knee surgery.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2006, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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