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Harrison: 'I have no problem with the Steelers'

By
The Sports Xchange
Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison watches from the sidelines during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in October. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison watches from the sidelines during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in October. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

James Harrison wanted to clear the air with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Harrison, who announced his retirement on Monday, said that he has no ill feelings toward the team with which he spent the majority of his career before a split led him to join the New England Patriots toward the end of the 2017 season.

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"I have no problem with the Steelers family," Harrison told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday. "I have no problem with the Rooneys. They made a business decision that was best for their organization. I made a business decision that was best for me and family at the time. We went our separate ways.

"Fans get mad because they're stuck with a team, one team, that's their team. At the end of the day, it's a business. Yes, you have loyalties to teams, but when it comes down to it, it's a job, and when your job fires you, you need to find another job."

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Harrison certainly did his job with the Steelers, as he collected a franchise-record 80.5 sacks.

A 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and five-time Pro Bowl selection (2007-11), Harrison is perhaps best remembered for his 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII against the Arizona Cardinals.

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Steelers president Art Rooney II wished Harrison well after he announced his retirement earlier in the week.

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While Harrison's decision to join the rival Patriots caused a stir within the Steelers' locker room, he said that's just water under the bridge.

"There were a lot of things said," Harrison told the Post-Gazette. "And I think a lot of guys said things because, hey, they were hurt, and when you're hurt, you say things you may not normally say.

"If you go now, you see players say how James Harrison 'helped me so much, I wouldn't be the same player,' et cetera. You have to look at the situation what happened, then you have to understand who is saying what, and the fact no one else is coming out and agreeing with it."

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Harrison, who will turn 40 on May 4, previously announced his retirement in August 2014 before returning to the Steelers the following month.

He signed with the Patriots on Dec. 26 and started for the team in its 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.

Harrison was undrafted out of Kent State in 2002 and played for NFL Europe's Rhein Fire the following year. He spent his first 10 NFL seasons with the Steelers before joining the rival Cincinnati Bengals in 2013.

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Harrison collected 793 tackles, 84.5 sacks, 34 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and eight interceptions in 192 career regular-season games.

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