The fire still burns

LATROBE, Pa. _ Inside linebacker Ryan Shazier's check-in interview on Thursday was abruptly interrupted by a wailing siren and the attention-getting appearance of a Saint Vincent Fire Department truck rolling through campus.

Shazier suspected it wasn't because Rooney Hall had caught fire.

"That's James," Shazier eventually confirmed.

A moment later, the truck was parked and outside linebacker William Gay emerged from the driver's side of the cab.

Welcome to Saint Vincent College and the opening of Steelers Training Camp 2017.

"I'm coming to work," Harrison announced. "I'm ready to put the fire out.

"We're ready to go in here as a team, as a unit, like firefighters do, and come together collectively and get the job done."

Harrison's arrival may have upstaged them all, even wide receiver Antonio Brown showing up in a chauffeur-driven, 1931 Rolls-Royce (Harrison's was certainly louder).

Reporting for duty for his 15th NFL training camp was not something Harrison took for granted.

"I'm almost 40 years old," he acknowledged. "This is not a game for my age."

That said, Harrison intends to do much more in his 14th season with the Steelers than simply make a dramatic entrance.

Harrison started the final six regular-season games and all three playoff games in the 2016 season, and recalled consistently playing "close" to 100 percent of the defensive snaps at season's end.

The Steelers have since parted ways with right outside linebacker Jarvis Jones and drafted right outside linebacker T.J. Watt on the first round out of Wisconsin.

Steelers players arrive at Saint Vincent College, in Latrobe Pennsylvania.

"I don't have a problem rotating in and out," Harrison said. "I would prefer to rotate less than we were at the beginning (of the 2016 season). I feel like I'm good for anything from 45 to 55 snaps a game.

"I'm concentrating on coming in and having the best camp I can and doing whatever it is they ask me to do to help our team win."

Harrison acknowledged he didn't know how many snaps the Steelers intended to give him this season.

"That's something you would have to ask Coach Porter (outside linebackers coach Joey) and Coach Tomlin (head coach Mike)," Harrison said.

Tomlin confirmed there's a plan for how Harrison will be deployed in camp and throughout the season but added, "I'm going to hold it close to the vest."

Other subjects addressed by Harrison included:

Watt's performance in OTAs and minicamp: "I think he looked good. He was catching on to the defense well, doing some good things out there. But again, that's in shells. We get to come out here and see what you do in pads now."

Improvement by the defense in 2016: "You could see within the last eight or nine games or so there was improvement. Hopefully, we can build from where we were at last year and continue to grow."

His season in 2016: "It was alright. It would have been a great season if we had won the Lombardi. If you don't do that, it was just alright. I feel like I'm doing enough to help my team."

When he'll know it's time to retire: "If it comes to a point in time where it's no longer fun for me, then Ill walk away or whatever it may be if the time comes where it just doesn't interest me like that anymore."

This much Harrison knows: If he winds up playing next season he already has an entrance planned that would top the fire truck.

"I'm gonna skydive," he said. "I'm gonna parachute in."

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