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Ex-Steeler LB Harrison visits Bengals


Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison was in Cincinnati for a visit with the Bengals on Thursday, continuing what has been a busy week for the team.

Harrison, who will be 35 in May, is a five-time Pro Bowler who has spent his first 11 seasons with the Steelers and signed a five-year contract prior to the 2009 season. But he declined to take a pay cut this offseason and was released March 9.

The 2008 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year is the third linebacker to visit the Bengals this week as they search for a SAM linebacker to replace Manny Lawson, who signed with Buffalo.

Cincinnati returns its other two starting linebackers in Rey Maualuga, who started all 16 games in the middle last year, and second-year WIL backer Vontaze Burfict, who made 15 starts. Maualuga signed a two-year contract March 18, and Burfict, a second-year player, is signed through 2014.

The Bengals also had free agent linebackers Karlos Dansby and Akeem Jordan in for visits this week.

Harrison appeared in 131 games with 95 starts for the Steelers from 2002-12 and went to the Pro Bowl five years in a row from 2007-2011.

He has recorded nine of his 64 career sacks in nine games against the Bengals.

After missing the first three games last year, Harrison returned to lead the Steelers in sacks with six. Scheduled to make $6.5 million in 2013, Harrison balked when Pittsburgh requested he take a pay cut believed to be worth 30 percent.

Reports have indicated he would like to stay in the AFC North Division. He visited the Baltimore Ravens last month, but they elected to sign Elvis Dumervil instead.

Dansby, 31, has played in 136 games with 127 starts in nine seasons with Arizona and Miami. The former second-round pick had a career-high 101 tackles last year with the Dolphins.

The 27-year-old Jordan went undrafted out of James Madison in 2007. He has appeared in 82 games with 34 starts in six seasons with Philadelphia.

In addition to the linebackers, the Bengals also received visits from tight end Alex Smith and offensive guard Mike Pollak in the last two days.

Smith, 30, is a former third-round pick and veteran of eight seasons with Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and Cleveland. He has 160 catches for 1,461 yards and 12 touchdowns in his career but has started just 12 games the last four seasons.

Pollak, 28, was drafted by Indianapolis in the second round in 2008. He started 41 games in four seasons with the Colts before signing with Carolina last year, where he appeared in only one game due to a shoulder injury.


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