James Harrison ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Colts

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison will not play on Sunday when the Steelers take on the Indianapolis Colts. His back just isn’t where it needs to be at this point.

“Mike Mitchell, who was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday, was a full participant Friday and is not listed on the status report,” wrote Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The only Steelers player on the report is James Harrison who has been ruled out with a back injury.”

Mitchell had been limited with his Achilles injury, but he appears to be ready to go. Harrison can’t say the same.

There is an upside here: The Steelers are playing the Colts. They’re 3-6 and having a tough year. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett has been impressive at times, but the Colts struggle mightily in other areas; their defense ranks dead last in the NFL. The Steelers can probably just outscore them.

Plus, the Steelers have been focusing on the future with Harrison. They want him for the playoffs and the end of the season. The more time off he can get to stay healthy, the better, especially if they can win without him.

“James is never out of the picture,” Steelers assistant coach and former linebacker Joey Porter said, per Joe Rutter of Trib Live. “We’ll use James when we feel it’s time to use James. He understands the process, and we know he’s not always going to be happy,” Porter said. “I know he’s going to be frustrated at times because he wants to play. He’s been playing good the last three or four years, so why wouldn’t he want to play? He just has to understand where we are now. We have T.J. [Watt]. We have Bud [Dupree]. We have [Anthony] Chickillo. We have some guys that can go in and get the job done.”

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