James Harrison rips Steelers again for misleading him with ‘lip service’
James Harrison has been criticized nonstop by fans and former teammates since he signed with the Patriots earlier in the week, and the veteran linebacker has heard enough.
Harrison has already said that he made a “business decision” when he chose to sign with New England after the Steelers released him. In a lengthy Instagram post on Friday, the 39-year-old explained himself further by bashing the way his former team dealt with him.
“If anybody thought I signed a two year deal with a team at age 39 to sit on the bench and collect a check and a participation trophy, they’re mistaken,” Harrison wrote. “I didn’t sign up to sit on the bench and be a cheerleader. I was clear about that when I signed, and I was told I would be on the field when I signed. When I was asking for reps in camp, I got none. I got lip service though: We know what you can do — you don’t need the reps. But I know what my body needs in order to be in shape to compete, and I said so, but still zero reps.
“At the beginning of the season, when it was clear I didn’t have a role anymore, I asked the be released. Throughout the season, I was told week in and week out that I’d be used. I wasn’t. I started getting frustrated about the whole thing. I asked not to be dressed or take unnecessary practice reps if I wasn’t going to play. That’s what happened for a (couple) weeks, then we had a game week that I got solid reps in practice and everyone assumed I’d play. I got to the stadium four hours early as usual, and my locker was empty. Nobody said anything to me about being inactive, just an empty locker. I asked to be released, and again was told no.”
“A couple weeks later, they dress me for a game so I assume I’m going to play, and I get zero reps. Stood on the sideline the whole game. I asked to be released again, I was told no. Then, a few days later, they released me. I was never told I would be brought back, it was: If I bring u back, be in shape. I cleared waivers, and they didn’t call. New England called.”
Harrison also addressed a rumor that he didn’t visit Ryan Shazier in the hospital, telling his followers to ask Shazier if that is true. He admitted that he didn’t handle his frustration the best way he could have, but he stands by his decision to join the Patriots in pursuit of more playing time and a ring.
You knew there would be some hard feelings when Harrison signed with one of Pittsburgh’s most hated rivals, and some of his veteran teammates have already ripped him. Still, you can’t blame him for pursuing a better opportunity.