Kent State alum James Harrison signed a six-year, $51.75 million contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers today.
This is a success story on several levels. First, Harrison is a former Kent State stand-out. Second, Harrison is a local guy, having played for Coventry High School. Third, Harrison got to where he is the old fashioned way. If you're not already familiar with his story, Harrison was undrafted out of Kent State, and was cut by the Steelers three times and the Baltimore Ravens once. He kept at it, eventually got an opportunity to play, took over as a starter two years ago following the departure of Joey Porter, and the rest is history.
Harrison has had 199 tackles in his two seasons as a starter, and had 16 sacks last season--a career high. He was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year, and famously returned an interception 100 yards to help the Steelers win Super Bowl XLIII. His contract is the largest ever signed by an NFL linebacker.