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Is former Steelers James Harrison contemplating retirement?

Perhaps this author is reading too much in between the lines of a Tweet; but, one can't help but wonder if the living legend is re-evaluating his future, as focused as he is on the upcoming ruling over low blocks.

Jared Wickerham

It has been said, in every joke lies a little bit of truth.

On Wednesday night, linebacker James Harrison joked on Twitter about the proposed rule changes being voted upon during the owner's meetings. Earlier in the day, voting vetoed the infamous tuck-rule, and then mandated runners may no longer willingly lower their heads to initiate engaging defenders. Both rulings drew mixed reviews, but Harrison was not amused. He was focused on another proposal.

Ever since he became an unrestricted free-agent following his release by the Pittsburgh Steelers, just days before the free-agency period began, Harrison has little to do. He did not draw the attention from the market which was expected when he was cut. His agent did his due diligence to sell his client to any other suitor. The Baltimore Ravens were the closest thing to an option Harrison had, and even they wouldn't commit to an official contract negotiation; just a month long conversation.

Social media provides a release for frustrated football players like Harrison this time of year, however, there is an almost-Freudian connection between Harrison's comment and his possible outlook on the future of his decorated NFL career.

Harrison became a cap casualty due to his significant salary and his aging knees. He was late joining his defensive teammates in 2012, after rehabbing from knee surgery. Harrison was noticeably slow working into game shape upon his return, although he appeared in near-normal form by the bitter end of a brutal season. The team was most likely unwilling to gamble his excessive salary on the hopes he could provide a full sixteen game season, as was further evidenced by the release of Willie Colon; especially when his release provided the team with an extra $5.105 million in cap room.

The team made an effort to retain Harrison for the 2013 season by requesting him to take a paycut, but he declined. Now, with no apparent market value, he could be taking a second look at his situation.

The rule change he is focused on revolves around eliminating an offensive players ability to take out a defensive player low (knees, ankles) in the name of blocking. It is no wonder a player whose lower legs are the thread from which his career is currently hanging, would take such an interest in the outcome of the voting.

Harrison, unless some team decides to suddenly change their mind about needing his services, is most likely to see only veteran minimum offers - if he receives any at all. He may be reaching the point personally, where he is wondering if it is worth playing another year. Harrison is not shy about sharing details and images of his numerous accupuncture and rehabilitation. Perhaps he is trying to decide if he has another year of pain and recovery in him, when no one really seems to want him anyway.

Should the league outlaw the blocks targeting lower extremities, Harrison could be willing to take another lap because of the decreased toll on the weakest part of his massive frame.

Of course, a sizable contract offer could make up his mind for him, regardless of the upcoming ruling.