Watch CBS News

Dunlap: James Harrison Issue Is Really Jarvis Jones' Issue

This really isn't all about James Harrison.

This is much, much more about Jarvis Jones.

When is Jarvis Jones going to realize his career is in the balance?

When is Jarvis Jones going to realize he needs to step up?

When is Jarvis Jones going to realize he needs to bulk up in the weight room and elevate his level of play on that football field?

When is Jarvis Jones going to realize he shouldn't have his job put in question by a guy who is going to be 37 in May? But, unfortunately for Jones, that's precisely what's happening.

You see, Harrison sent Steeler Nation into a towel-whipping, Renegade-blasting frenzy on Sunday night when he took to social media to announce some intentions that didn't involve a winter hibernation that would lead into (a second) retirement.

"I decided to hold off on retirement, so it's time to pack up and head to AZ to start my training so I can be ready to play another year!" Harrison posted on his Instagram account.

It seems Harrison -- who will be 37 in May and a free agent in March -- is training to play another season with the Steelers. That is, if the Steelers will have him, a proposition made easier because of the contract situations of linebackers Arthur Moats and Jason Worilds.

In short, Jarvis Jones is left as the lone outside linebacker with any acclaim under contract. And "acclaim" might be a bit of a stretch. The first-round pick in 2013, Jones hasn't lived up to his reputation.

Not even close.

He has routinely been pushed around, shoved back and made to chase down plays when his initial reaction took him away from where he should have gone to begin with. When he was introduced to Pittsburgh after that fabulous career at the University of Georgia, we all felt he'd be much farther along at this point, didn't we?

Long story short, Jones isn't a bust yet, but he's getting close to bordering on such a moniker.

Which leads us back to Harrison --- that's even why we are talking about him, because Jones might be a bust right now. Certainly, in spurts, James Harrison is still a more-than-serviceable linebacker who can get to the quarterback, drag down a running back and cause heat on a left tackle to the point the guy wants to jog back into the locker room.

But those days (and Father Time will do this to you) are sporadic. When you get to an age that pushes much closer to 40 than 30, that's what happens.

We have all seen those tremendous displays of strength from Harrison.

But he's still almost 37.

We have seen him one-hand press (with each hand) 135 pounds in a superhuman show that will make anyone who has ever entered a weight room gasp in disbelief.

But he's still almost 37.

We have seen Harrison do pushups with a teammate on his back, exhibiting unreal raw power few possess. And not just any teammate, but a big, strapping lineman.

But he's still almost 37.

It seems that should be a disadvantage for Harrison and a huge advantage for Jarvis Jones, who is only 25.

The only problem is that Jarvis Jones seems to be the last guy to realize he shouldn't be getting beat out by a soon-to-be 37-year-old at this point of his career.

Join The Conversation On The KDKA Facebook Page
Stay Up To Date, Follow KDKA On Twitter

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.