That season, Harrison was graded by Pro Football Focus as the No. 3 interior defender in the NFL, with the best run-stop percentage in the league (16%).
“To be completely honest with you, I didn’t want to go to Detroit because of some things that I heard from some guys in the past and some guys who were there,” Harrison said. “So when I got the call that that’s where I was traded, I didn’t answer the phone for a couple hours. [Lions general manager] Bob Quinn was calling me and I didn’t pick up the phone because I was trying to figure out a way to get out of it.”
After sitting out all of the spring workouts last year, Harrison, one of the top run-stoppers in the league, was placed on the non-football injury list before signing an extension, which converted much of his base salary into a $7.5 million signing bonus.
“I wasn’t prepared for the season mentally,” Harrison said.
“I came into camp in shape, but during the first three weeks of camp I think I kind of worked myself out of shape because I wasn’t doing anything,” Harrison said. “That was a time where, to be honest with you, we were trying to facilitate a trade. I was hell-bent on getting out of there.”
By the end of the 2019 season, Harrison told reporters he was contemplating retirement after he played through a multitude of injuries and “wasn’t able to ever get back to the form I’m used to.”
Harrison, who turned 31 in November, finished last season with a career-low 49 tackles.
The veteran defensive lineman is a free agent after being released by the Lions in what he called “a mutual agreement” on Feb. 25. He had two years remaining on his deal after signing the $11 million extension in August.
“It’s nothing against the people of Detroit, the city or anything like that,” the eight-year veteran said. “I’ll forever love the city of Detroit, but I just had to go try to put myself into a situation where I saw myself there for two or three years to end my career, and I just didn’t see myself in Detroit for that long.”
ESPN’s Michael Rothstein contributed to this report.
Published at Tue, 14 Apr 2020 12:48:38 +0000