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Steelers will release James Harrison; Hampton might follow

The Steelers are releasing former Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison, according to league sources.

The move is not a surprise, given he was set to count about $6 million against the cap, and has age and injury concerns at this stage of his career.

Harrison has suffered from back and other issues and missed significant time, and he seemed to confirm the move.

Harrison was not willing to take a major cut to remain with the team and the Steelers internally have been bracing for this for quite some time, with the money they are paying fellow linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons now quite steep and them retooling an aging defense.

Nose tackle Casey Hampton is unlikely to be back, and 2013 could very well be the final year Troy Polamalu is with the club.

Pittsburgh is losing free-agent receiver Mike Wallace and running back Rashard Mendenhall is likely departing, but roster turnover is nothing new for the perennial contenders. The Steelers front office has been shrewd over the years in knowing when to let its own players leave and not overpaying aging players.

The Steelers reworked the contracts of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and others to get under the cap leading up to the start of the league year on Tuesday.

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