The New England Patriots added some much-needed help at outside linebacker with the surprise addition of former Steeler James Harrison.
On Saturday, James Harrison woke up as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. By the end of the day, the team released their all-time sack leader. On Tuesday, the Steelers saw Harrison sign with the New England Patriots, one day after he cleared waivers. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates and later confirmed by multiple people.
The Patriots and Steelers were already competing for the top two spots in the AFC and delivered one of the best games of the year only nine days ago, but now there is an added twist to this rivalry.
Harrison is well past his prime at 39 and saw his role reduced with the addition of first round pick T.J. Watt to the defense and the continued development of former first round pick, Bud Dupree. After playing in 587 snaps last year, Harrison was only at 40 snaps before his release. Harrison had one sack this season.
While Harrison’s role has been reduced dramatically in Pittsburgh, he could still make a splash for the Patriots defense just in time for a Super Bowl run.
Harrison proved instrumental for the Steelers recent playoff success with multiple sacks over their last two postseason runs. Harrison is healthy and should be well-rested but now he should also have added motivation when he next sets foot on the field. That could be just what the Patriots need to beat the Steelers in the postseason, assuming the two teams meet in the AFC Championship Game.
How odd would it be to see Harrison in a Patriots uniform chasing after Ben Roethlisberger? Unless you’ve been watching Steelers practices for the last decade, this will be a foreign concept but it’s one that seems all too likely now that Harrison is a member of the Pats.
The Steelers may have had hopes of releasing Harrison only to pick him back up this week, but their roster roulette backfired this time.