After spending most of his NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, James Harrison is now a member of the team’s fierce rivals, the New England Patriots. Harrison initially said that the reason for his departure is lack of playing time, something he didn’t expect from the organization. But now, multiple Steelers players have come forward, saying that the 39-year-old linebacker forced his exit from the team.
“If you didn’t want to be here, come out and say it,” said Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey. “Don’t make it look like it’s the team’s fault… You think the team and the organization wanted to get rid of James Harrison? Come on, now. If I wanted out, I wouldn’t let the team take the blame for it.“
Linebacker Bud Dupree also added that Harrison in fact “choose to leave” the Steelers.
“I don’t want the media to portray that we’re the reason he left.” – said Dupree. “That ain’t the reason. He chose to leave. He made certain decisions, and his actions got him to this circumstance.“
According to team’s sources, Harrison did ש lot more to get from Pittsburgh than just complain about the lack of playing time. He was reportedly sleeping during position meetings or skipping them. Harrison also sometimes skipped the practices or would leave the stadiums when he was inactive before the game ended. He even told his teammates that he is looking to be traded or released.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach didn’t want to make any comments about releasing Harrison, only saying that the team required a roster spot after Marcus Gilbert returned from suspension.
James Harrison played a reduced role for the Steelers this season, getting only 40 snaps in 14 games. Shortly after being released, he joined the New England Patriots on December 26, signing a one year deal and is expected to play a more prominent role for the team.