The smoke earlier in the day was quite an indicator. However, in the NFL, things move very quickly. Just hours after reports surfaced of James Harrison being in New England, according to Field Yates, he has officially signed with the Patriots.
Source: the Patriots are expected to sign former Steelers LB James Harrison.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 26, 2017
The move makes sense from a Patriots perspective. Thin on the defensive line and in the front seven as a whole, Harrison could provide the team some valuable snaps down the stretch and through the playoff run. Not much of a linebacker anymore, Harrison will likely spell Trey Flowers on the line. At age 39, Harrison isn’t the same player he was just a few seasons ago. After playing just 40 snaps this season (after over 500 the year before) the hope is that he will be fresh for the Super Bowl run.
On top of being a great regular season player, Harrison has shined on the brightest stage and in the biggest games. The two-time Super Bowl champion has played in 19 playoff games for the Steelers and Bengals. In that time he has amassed 50 tackles, 11 sacks, and an interception that he return for a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
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Harrison hasn’t seen the field since a Week 14 game against the Ravens. He will likely join the Patriots this week for practice and play a few snaps in the finale against the Jets. Harrison, the oldest defensive player in the league, joins Tom Brady, the oldest quarterback in the league. Both players have defied age to a certain degree and both have multiple titles.
Last year against the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, Harrison played 57 snaps on defense and five on special teams. He recorded four tackles in that game, eclipsing his current season totals.
Now, Harrison will look to win his third title with of all teams, the Patriots. The team that has prevented the Steelers from winning a few more. And of course, the two teams are on a collision course for an AFC Championship rematch in just a few weeks.