Steelers OLB Chris Carter 'bothered' by speculation of James Harrison's return

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The fourth-year outside linebacker has inside positioning on the team's top back-up at the position right now, so it's understandable why he may not want to hear about the return of the former Defensive Player of the Year.

Fans always want to hear about what's next. The intrigue of the NFL is rooted in the hope; speculation regarding one move ignites into optimism that one move is all a team needs to get over the hump.

Steelers outside linebacker Chris Carter isn't one to subscribe to that notion, especially considering the hottest topic of speculation regarding his team is the possible return of James Harrison.

Post Gazette reporter R.J. Schaffer spoke with Carter, noting the fourth-year player is "bothered" by that speculation.

"Absolutely," Carter told Schaffer, his apparent response to a question regarding his level of displeasure with the idea of Harrison's return. "I respect James and I have all the admiration in the world for him. He's a great dude and a great veteran when I got here and showed me a lot of things he didn't have to, but at the end of the day, this is a job, and we're all competing."

You can't blame him for feeling that way. Carter, just like Harrison and just about every other contributor on the Steelers' team, put in the work to keep their respective roster spot.

Carter has seen spats of playing time in his tenure in Pittsburgh, which began when he was a fifth-round pick out of Fresno State in 2011. He's seen at least eight games of action in his first three years, making three starts last season due to injuries to LaMarr Woodley, Jason Worilds and Jarvis Jones.

With Woodley now in Oakland, and Worilds and Jones cemented in the starting positions heading into training camp, Carter is poised to become the team's top back-up - a position that's seen plenty of starts over the last three years. Because of that, depth is thought to be a key question mark in 2014.

The notion of bringing Harrison back to bolster that depth understandably makes Carter uncomfortable. It's far from a sure thing, though. Harrison turned 36 in May, and didn't impress in one season with Cincinnati after Pittsburgh released him. He's thought to be more of a back-up plan right now, and it'd be likely, if he was brought in, he wouldn't be guaranteed a roster spot in camp.

Advantage: Carter.

If Carter can show (or has already shown in minicamp) he's capable of stepping in as a starter in the event of injury, the team likely wouldn't bring Harrison in for a look. So in at least one respect, it's up to Carter whether or not Harrison makes his return to the franchise that saw him have one of the best individual seasons of any defensive player in history when he was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2008.

How Carter handles the possibility of the team adding camp competition may factor into his 2014 season, the last on his current contract. He hits free agency in 2015, and with the Steelers having given Worilds only a one-year deal on the transition tag, they may be in the market for a new starter.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Behind the Steel Curtain

You must be a member of Behind the Steel Curtain to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Behind the Steel Curtain. You should read them.

Join Behind the Steel Curtain

You must be a member of Behind the Steel Curtain to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Behind the Steel Curtain. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker