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LB Harrison: I've grown since arrest

PITTSBURGH -- James Harrison said he "grew" from an arrest in 2008 for hitting his girlfriend and that the Steelers won't have to worry about bringing him back when domestic assault is such a hot-button issue in the NFL.

"It was something that happened, an unfortunate situation, and right or wrong everybody makes mistakes," Harrison said following his first practice since re-signing with the Steelers on Tuesday. "I learned from it and grew from it and I'm where I'm at now."

Harrison was charged with simple assault and criminal mischief after a 2008 fight with his girlfriend. Harrison apologized for the incident through his attorney and both misdemeanor charges were eventually dropped.

Harrison's arrest became an issue again with the NFL under fire for its handling of domestic assault cases.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he talked with Harrison about the "climate" in the NFL before the Steelers re-signed the five-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker and 2008 Defensive Player of the Year.

Harrison had been among those criticizing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell before he came out of his brief retirement.

Harrison, who was heavily fined after Goodell made player safety one of his top priorities in 2010, took several shots at the embattled commissioner on social media a couple of weeks ago. Harrison held back on Wednesday when asked about Goodell and the criticism he has received after admittedly botching the Ray Rice discipline domestic assault case.

"I have no thoughts," Harrison said. "I'm blank right now."

The sweat that streaked down his face said everything about his first practice of the season -- and what Harrison, 36, has ahead of him as he works his way back into football shape.

Harrison had officially retired at Steelers' headquarters on Sept. 5 and he said on Tuesday that he was content to be done playing football.

But several teammates, including veteran safety Troy Polamalu, as well as Tomlin, helped persuade Harrison to return for one more NFL season after Steelers right outside linebacker Jarvis Jones dislocated his wrist in a 37-19 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Jones will miss at least two months, and with the Steelers already thin at outside linebacker they brought back Harrison to provide depth behind Jason Worilds and Arthur Moats, who is filling in for Jones.

Harrison said it is too early to tell what role he will play in his second stint with the Steelers.

"No aspirations, no goals," Harrison said. "I'm just trying to make it to tomorrow."

But Harrison, who said he felt "horrible" after his first practice, is confident he can still play well enough to help the Steelers.

"If I didn't think I could do it," Harrison said, "I wouldn't come back."