Linebacker James Harrison signed with the New England Patriots for one year, following his release from AFC rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
James Harrison Calls Out ‘Older Teammate’ Tom Brady
There’s one Patriot whom Harrison is looking forward to playing with: quarterback Tom Brady. But it’s not because of his hall of fame career or championship pedigree.
Harrison took a selfie with Brady in the Patriots locker room. He then jokingly captioned his Instagram post, “Finally… A teammate that’s older than me!”
Brady, who turned 40 years old on Aug. 3, is the oldest offensive player in the league. Harrison, at 39 years old, is the oldest defensive player in the NFL.
Patriots, Harrison Hope for Super Bowl LII Championship
Harrison’s agent, Bill Parise, told ESPN that his client wanted to compete for the Super Bowl championship. This led him to the Patriots to play under famed coach Bill Belichick. Parise claimed that Harrison had several offers from other teams, which he didn’t name.
The move also shores up the Patriots’ defense. Harrison, the all time leader in sacks for the Steelers, will provide a veteran presence and even mentorship for promising rookies like Deatrich Wise and Eric Lee.
Harrison’s Move Fuels Steelers-Patriots Rivalry
Pittsburgh fans have been branding Harrison as a traitor for signing with their archival. As the Steelers and the Patriots slug it out for the AFC title, both are favorites to be in the division championship. The next few weeks might make the Steelers regret their decision to release the veteran linebacker.
Although expecting a 39-year-old to turn the Patriots into a defensive juggernaut would be unrealistic, Steelers fans are concerned. Some commented that Harrison could be revealing Pittsburgh’s playbook to his new team.
During the offseason, Harrison signed a two-year deal with the Steelers only to find that he wouldn’t be playing much. He later said he would have signed elsewhere, had he known about that decision.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, meanwhile, explained that there was nothing personal involved in the decision. The team’s best interest trumps every other issue. “He is a competitor, he wants to be a central reason why we are successful,” Tomlin said of Harrison. “I know that. I also know he is a great team player. He always has been.”