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Wary of sons playing football, James Harrison says he'd want to supervise

PITTSBURGH -- Steelers linebacker James Harrison has been one of the NFL's most ferocious hitters over the past decade, but he takes a more delicate approach with his kids playing football.

Harrison said his son, who currently plays flag football, can also play tackle football -- but only if Dad can supervise the action. Harrison would have 14 NFL seasons of experience to impart on his kids.

"He wants to start playing tackle. To be honest, I'm not comfortable with it unless I can be there every day," said Harrison, 38, from the Steelers locker room, speaking for the first time since his May decision to return for 2016. "I want him to learn it properly. I don't want him to go to a program where they've just got the kids doing Oklahoma drills and stuff like that that ... banging their heads for no reason."

Harrison has two sons, and his children's lives are a big part of his social media presence on Instagram. Harrison made headlines over the summer with an Instagram post denouncing participation trophies.

Harrison said he generally wants only one thing from his kids: "straight As."

Harrison trained this offseason in Arizona, where his family make their home for part of the year. By the third week of training, Harrison felt good about returning to Pittsburgh. After the season, he wasn't so sure. But he's feeling good, didn't rehab any injuries and played well last season with 40 tackles and five sacks in an outside linebacker rotation.

Harrison said he might be capable of playing until he's 40, though he's not thinking about that now. He could play a majority of the snaps if necessary.

"I want to be used however they want to use me," Harrison said. "I need another ring. That's the only number I care about."