The Patriots bolstered their roster with yet another veteran cast-off — former Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison

  • Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison signed with the New England Patriots on Tuesday.
  • The Patriots have made a habit of finding veterans who have a bit left in the tank to fill out their depth.
  • Harrison spent 14 seasons with the Steelers, but now joins their AFC rivals, setting up a potential must-see reunion in the postseason.


The Pittsburgh Steelers waived five-time Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison on Saturday in a move that surprised many around the NFL. But while Harrison was not claimed by any team during the waiver process, he wasn't out of the league for long.

On Tuesday, ESPN's Field Yates reported that James Harrison had signed with the Patriots after a visit to Gillette Stadium.

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Steelers James Harrison
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 21: Linebacker James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on from the sideline during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Heinz Field on December 21, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Chiefs 20-12. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 24: James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers sits on the field after sacking Kellen Clemens #10 of the St. Louis Rams after during the Christmas Eve game on December 24, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison lays on the ground after scoring a touchdown after intercepting a pass against the Arizona Cardinals at the end of the second quarter during the NFL's Super Bowl XLIII football game in Tampa, Florida, February 1, 2009. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn (UNITED STATES)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 15: James Harrison #92 (left) of the Pittsburgh Steelers and outside linebacker coach Joey Porter before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field on November 15, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 09: Linebacker James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers follows the action against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on November 9, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Pereira/New York Jets/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 2: NBC Sports Sunday Night Football sideline reporter Michele Tafoya interviews linebacker James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers after a game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on November 2, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Ravens 43-23. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 12, 2014: Linebacker James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers walks down the sideline during a game against the Cleveland Browns on October 12, 2014 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won 31-10. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 28: Linebacker James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on from the field before a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Heinz Field on September 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Buccaneers defeated the Steelers 27-24. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 29: Linebacker James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before the game against the Buffalo Bills at Heinz Field on August 29, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH - NOVEMBER 20: Linebacker James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on from the sideline during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on November 20, 2008 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Bengals 27-10. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 08: Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison (92) looks on during the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 8, 2017 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa. (Photo by Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire)
Dec 31, 2017; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots outside linebacker James Harrison (92) during the second quarter of their 26-6 win over the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 31: James Harrison #92 of the New England Patriots sacks Bryce Petty #9 of the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: James Harrison #92 of the New England Patriots reacts after the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Chris Hogan #15 of the New England Patriots celebrates with James Harrison #92 after winning the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The Patriots have made a habit of looking to veterans to fill out holes in their roster heading into the final weeks of the season. Already this year, they claimed tight end Martellus Bennett off of waivers after Green Bay decided they were done with him, and just three weeks ago New England signed Kenny Britt to add some depth to their receiving corps heading into the postseason.

With starting linebacker Dont'a Hightower going down for the season back in October, and the Patriots "next man up" mentality being tested by injuries all season, it's no surprise that they were interested in seeing if Harrison has anything left to offer them for their upcoming playoff push.

Harrison joining New England also sets up a potential unmissable reunion should the Patriots and Steelers meet again in the AFC playoffs. Harrison spent 14 seasons with the Steelers over his long NFL career, and won two Super Bowls with the team. It would be especially Belichick-ian if the final chapter of his career was turning against his former team to secure a third ring.

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SEE ALSO: Josh Rosen reportedly hesitant to enter NFL draft for fear of being drafted by the Browns

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