Philip G. Pavely/USA Today Sports

Steelers players rip James Harrison following departure from Pittsburgh

Ryan Hannable
December 27, 2017 - 5:09 pm

FOXBORO -- On Saturday, James Harrison was released by the Steelers and on Tuesday he signed as a free agent with the Patriots.

Many assumed the Steelers wanted the 39-year-old gone, but the Steelers locker room on Wednesday had a different side to the story.

"I don't want the media to portray that we're the reason he left," linebacker Bud Dupree told reporters. "That ain't the reason. He chose to leave. He made certain decisions and his actions got him to this circumstance."

Added cornerback Artie Burns: "I guess [New England is] where he wanted to be."

Harrison had spent all but one of his 15 NFL seasons with the Steelers and he's also the franchises all-time sack leader. According to center Maurkice Pouncey, signing with the Patriots after being released ruined his legacy with the Steelers.

“He erased himself,” Pouncey said. “He erased his own legacy here. Let’s be serious. ... I would think so, as a fan. [It’s] crazy. It blows my mind.”

“He wanted [to be released],” he added. “It wasn’t like the team said ‘We’re going to let go of James Harrison. James Harrison wanted that. ... Yeah, it’s funny to read the stories like, it’s something that he wanted to do, you know what I’m saying? It’s not like they got together and said, ‘Oh, we’re going to go cut James.’ No, that’s not what happened. And he needs to come out and admit that.”

The Steelers and Patriots potentially could meet in the AFC title game, which would make for endless storylines.

"I don't care. Bye. Have fun," Pouncey said.

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