PITTSBURGH—There is a good chance Pro Bowl OLB James Harrison, who has missed the Pittsburgh Steelers' past four games, could return this weekend against the Baltimore Ravens.
Harrison practiced the past two days after being cleared to do so as he recovered from a broken bone near his right eye. If there are no setbacks, it is possible he will be cleared to play in the game. If so, Lawrence Timmons will be moved back to inside linebacker after starting the past four games in Harrison’s outside spot.
That should help Timmons, who has been mostly a non-factor in four games at that position. He has just 12 tackles, no sacks and only two quarterback pressures since replacing Harrison. Those are meager numbers as a position that is designed to make plays.
Harrison’s return would be timely because outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley hasn’t practiced and is not expected to play against the Ravens because of a bum hamstring.
Woodley had 7 ½ sacks and an interception in the four games while Harrison was sidelined. He will be replaced by Jason Worilds, who has missed the past four games with a quad injury.
James Harrison is this close to returning to face the Ravens. (AP Photo)Worilds, a No. 2 pick in 2010, was scheduled to return two weeks ago in Arizona, but aggravated his injury in practice and missed the past two games. His return should also help the defense because the Steelers were forced to use rookie linebacker Chris Carter when Woodley was injured against the Patriots.
Carter, a fifth-round pick, is very quick off the edge, but he must get bigger and stronger to play that strong-side position. Worilds is bigger and stronger and is also a good pass-rusher.
But a lot depends on that status of inside linebacker James Farrior, who injured his calf in practice and did not play against the Patriots.
Farrior practiced Thursday and could return against the Ravens, though a lot depends on how he feels the next couple days. If he is back, it is possible Farrior and veteran Larry Foote will start inside and Timmons and Harrison will be the outside backers.
Foote made all the defensive calls in Farrior’s absence against the Patriots.