James Harrison spends big on body

James Harrison, 35, says he spends thousands on a regimen that enables him to maintain a healthy body 11 seasons into his NFL career. AP Photo/Al Behrman

New Cincinnati Bengals linebacker James Harrison said Tuesday that he spares no expense to make sure his body is ready for the grind of an NFL season, estimating he spends at least $400,000 annually.

"My body is what helps me to make money. Whatever there is that I need to do to try and make myself better or get myself healthy, I'm going to do it," Harrison said. "It wouldn't be unreasonable to say that I spend anywhere between $400,000 to $600,000 on body work, as far as taking care of my body, year-in and year-out."

After he was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Harrison had to work out for the Bengals, who wanted to make sure he was beyond a knee injury that sidelined him during training camp and forced him to miss the first three games last season. He was in Arizona working out when the Bengals offered a two-year deal last month.

He said he uses a hyperbaric chamber in Arizona, and has his own staff of acupuncturists, massage therapists and homeopathic doctors. He'll bring them with him to Cincinnati, where he joined his new team for the first time this week.

"I'm still not able to do certain things, but as far as my physical health, I'm able to train a lot harder than I have been over the last two, three offseasons," Harrison said. "I'm able to do a lot more weight [lifting]. I'm able to just do a lot more things that my body physically couldn't do because of injury, or whatever it may be."

The 2013 season will be the 35-year-old Harrison's 11th NFL season. He said it's essential for NFL players to spend money to maintain their health if they want to ensure longevity in the game.

"If you want to be able to stay in this business for a while, you're going to have to take care of your body. You want to do that, you're going to have to spend money. It's not cheap," he said.

The Bengals return their defense virtually intact from last season, when it finished sixth in yards allowed. Adding Harrison will upgrade a position where they needed some depth. The move also adds someone accustomed to winning playoff games.

"He gives you that swagger and that seal," cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones said Tuesday, after working out at Paul Brown Stadium. "You know when you mail off the letter you make sure you put a stamp on it. Well, he's the stamp."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.