During his 10-year NFL career spanning 128 games, Nolan Harrison became known as a steady, consistent defensive lineman who played for the Raiders, Steelers and Redskins. Drafted in 2001 by the Los Angeles Raiders, he took over the Defensive End position from for Hall of Fame NFL Howie Long upon retirement.
When asked what he most remembered about his playing days, Nolan stated: “I think one of my best memories ever was when I was in the AFC Championship Game. We (the Pittsburgh Steelers) won the AFC Central in 1997 and got to the AFC Championship Game in 1997, and that year was one of my best years. A lot of people counted me out because I came off a serious back injury from two years before so a lot of guys were writing me off. I came back and had one of the best years of my career on a new team and we made it all the way to just before the Super Bowl. We lost to Denver in the AFC Championship Game. John (Elway) got his first Super Bowl at my expense because that was the first and only chance to play in the Super Bowl on my birthday. It was a bittersweet season but I can’t take away all of the great things that happened that year. It was a fun year.”
In terms of missing the ‘game,’ Nolan recalled during a conversation with the NFL Players Association: “I miss some things. My body might say something else but I miss some things. I miss going to that locker room, being on that bus and walking into the stadium—whether it was home or away—and everyone had a single purpose and mindset. I miss the crowds, the hits, all the contact and the competition. I miss that, I do. There is a lot of pain and sacrifice that go into getting into Sunday but when Sunday happens, all that stuff goes away. The pain goes away and it is just pure joy. I always tell people if I can have one moment, it’s going out in the AFC Championship Game, having them announce my name and hearing the crowd go crazy for me. That is something that will always stay with me and it’s a joy that will always be inside. That’s all I can remember, I can see it now. If anyone can ever have that moment, you never want to let it go. I’ll say that over and over.”
Currently, he is a Vice President in the Trust and Investment Management Division of First Midwest Bank. Nolan is also a member of the NFL Players Association, an elected Steering Committee Member and the Chairman of the Health Committee. Nolan also serves on the Fry Family YMCA Board and is a Naperville Sunrise Rotary Member.