James Harrison Signs With New England Patriots

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 30: James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is introduced prior to the game against the New Orleans Saints at Heinz Field on November 30, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

In an unexpected move, James Harrison was cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday. The veteran linebacker went unclaimed off waivers through Tuesday morning. ESPN’s Field Yates reported later in the day that the New England Patriots are expected to sign James Harrison to their roster. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo later confirmed that he’s indeed joining the team.


James Harrison Signs With New England Patriots

Reports first surfaced on Tuesday morning that Harrison had been spotted at Logan International Airport in Boston and had made his way to Gillette Stadium

Before the team parted ways with him, Harrison was well-known in Pittsburgh for being the club’s all-time sack leader. In 191 career games, the linebacker has 82.5 sacks, including three 10+ sack seasons. Harrison was grossly underutilized in Pittsburgh this year, playing only five games and recording a single sack. It was the first time in his career that he had played fewer than 11 games in a season.

While there are concerns about his age, the 39-year-old continues to be a force in the off-season. Videos of his Herculean workouts, including medicine ball volleyball, went viral this year, leading many to question his lack of use by the Steelers.

Regardless, the Patriots will make great use of the 14-year veteran. The Patriots defense has been, in a word, inconsistent. Injuries have decimated the team on both sides of the ball. Adding Harrison to the roster bolsters New England’s ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks. The loss of Dont’a Hightower to injured reserve earlier in the season has allowed many quarterbacks the time and presence of mind to take advantage of an underperforming New England secondary. Other major contributors on defense, including Kyle Van Noy, have made significant appearances on the Patriots weekly injury reports.

Should the Patriots and the Steelers meet up in the postseason, expect all eyes on Harrison.

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