LB Harrison to sign with Patriots

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While he was buried on the depth chart behind younger players like Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt in Pittsburgh, Harrison should have opportunity in New England.

The New England Patriots are "expected to sign" free-agent linebacker James Harrison after the 15-year veteran was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 23, according to ESPN's Field Yates.

Pittsburgh released the 39-year-old Harrison, who had been frustrated with his lack of playing time this season, on Saturday in order to make room for the for the return of right tackle Marcus Gilbert.

If the Pats do indeed end up signing Harrison, it won't be much of a surprise to National Football League fans if he gets to play against his former team in the AFC Championship game should the Steelers and Patriots both win their divisional round games.

The Patriots have made a lot of roster moves in recent weeks. He's a two-time first-team All-Pro and two-time second-team All-Pro. Of course, that means he's been a huge part of the Patriots-Steelers rivalry and now he will have the chance to change courses and help bring another Super Bowl title to New England.

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If the Patriots sign Harrison, he'd provide veteran leadership and a solid edge presence that could help the Patriots run defense.

It's not as though the Steelers have been holding Harrison back; they've clearly figured out that he just wasn't worth putting on the field any longer.

James Harrison is now a Patriot. If he does end up taking the field against Pittsburgh, it'd be in more of a troll job than a strategic maneuver. He's spent his entire 14-year career with the Steelers save for one year - 2013 - spent with the Cincinnati Bengals. Surely they had to know the Patriots would be interested.

Harrison might not like to hear any of that and might get angry if the opportunity to get back at his longtime team never materializes, but the business of the National Football League always trumps what happens on the field.

The Patriots are thin at outside linebacker and defensive end, relying on LBs Elandon Roberts and Marquis Flowers and DEs Trey Flowers, Deatrich Wise and Eric Lee.

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