Linebacker James Harrison happy to rejoin Steelers

Associated Press

Pittsburgh — James Harrison walked off the practice field in his familiar No. 92 jersey Wednesday afternoon, a gift of sorts from nose tackle Daniel McCullers.

The rookie graciously gave up the number when the Steelers re-signed Harrison to give an injury-depleted linebacker group a welcome dose of veteran snarl.

"He deserves it," McCullers said. "He's a good player."

One who finds himself on a team that's undergone a rapid-fire makeover in the 18 months since the Steelers released the five-time Pro Bowler in March 2013 in a salary cap maneuver.

Sweat pouring off his bald head, Harrison spoke like a man who understands he's no longer an integral part of the game plan but a role player.

"No aspirations, no goals," Harrison, 36, said. "I'm just trying to make it to tomorrow."

Harrison estimated it may take him 3-4 weeks to be truly ready, but estimated he's fit enough to see the field for a handful of plays.

That's likely all he'd see anyway as the new elder statesman in a linebacker group that doesn't feature a player over the age of 28.

Lawrence Timmons is the only starting linebacker left over from Harrison's last game in a Steelers uniform in December 2012.

LaMarr Woodley (Michigan) is with the Raiders. Larry Foote (Michigan) is with the Cardinals. Harrison is back with the team he helped win a pair of Super Bowls, albeit in a far different capacity.

He will start Sunday's game against winless Tampa Bay (0-3) on the sideline watching Arthur Moats — who considers Harrison a role model — take the strong outside linebacker spot in Pittsburgh's intricate 3-4 defense.

"Different faces, but it's still the same," Harrison said. "It's still a family. We've just got different members."

Extra points

Officials from the Osage Nation in Oklahoma are boycotting global shipping company FedEx because of its relationship with the Washington Redskins, and calling on other tribes to do the same, saying the NFL team's name is derogatory to people of American Indian descent.

... The NFL players' union has hired former federal prosecutor Richard Craig Smithto oversee its investigation into the Ray Rice domestic violence case.

An Oklahoma woman accuses Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in a lawsuit of paying her for at least four years to keep her from reporting an alleged sexual assault.

An updated lawsuit filed Monday by Jana Weckerly's attorney accuses Jones of forcibly touching Weckerly and kissing her on the lips without her consent more than five years ago — then bullying her into not reporting the alleged attack. The lawsuit seeks more than $1 million in damages.

Jones has denied Weckerly's allegations.

... ESPN officials have suspended Bill Simmons for three weeks after he repeatedly called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a liar during a profane tirade on a podcast.

"Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN's journalistic standards," ESPN officials said in a statement. "Bill Simmons did not meet those obligations in a recent podcast, and as a result we have suspended him for three weeks."

Personnel dept.

Titans quarterback Jake Locker did not practice because of an injured right wrist.

... Cornerback Morris Claiborne returned to Cowboys practice a day after walking out on the team upon hearing that he was being replaced as a starter by Orlando Scandrick.

... Bills receiver Marcus Easley has been ruled out from playing agains the Texans on Sunday because of an injured left leg.

... Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe will be sidelined for several weeks following knee surgery.

... Carson Palmer is able to throw the football again, and the Arizona quarterback is aiming to return next week when the Cardinals play the Broncos in Denver.

... Bears linebacker Shea McClellin will miss Sunday's game aganst the Packers because of a hand injury.

... Jets receiver Eric Decker (right hamstring)and defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson (bruised right knee) sat out practice.

... Chargers linebacker Manti Te'o says he's "frustrated and devastated" with a third foot injury in 13 months. Te'o sustained a fractured right foot last weekend.