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James Harrison wants to play for Patriots, Browns

The Pittsburgh Steelers made a decision yesterday that was likely difficult, but it wasn’t surprising and it had to happen. 34-year-old 3-4 OLB James Harrison has found himself on the free agent market after receiving his walking papers from the Steelers, and the move saved the Steelers about $5.1 million in cap space. Harrison is going to be highly sought after on the free agent market, and there are reportedly- and unsurprisingly- several teams interested.

There are two teams that Harrison has explicitly mentioned as teams he would be interesting in playing for in the New England Patriots and the Cleveland Browns. The interesting thing here is that Harrison was quite outspoken about his dislike for the Patriots, and the Browns are, of course, a big rival to the Steelers due to the whole Cleveland-Pittsburgh city rivalry.

Here is what Harrison said to ESPN via the Boston Herald about potentially playing for the Patriots, “Of course it would be nice to play with Tom Brady. I mean, who wouldn’t want to?”

Yeah, everyone wants to play with Tom Brady and an organization like the Pats, even if they play it off like they hate the Pats. Anyway, it would be difficult to accommodate Harrison to the 4-3, but Bill Belichick and the Patriots could definitely find a way to make it work. Harrison is a terrific edge rusher, and I think he could fit them as a 4-3 DE in that capacity. People always talk about his pass rushing ability, but Harrison is also an excellent run defender and is just as good against the run as he is rushing the passer. Another thing to keep in mind is that Harrison is still athletic enough to cover, so he can also play at 4-3 OLB if needed.

As for the Cleveland Browns, Harrison’s rep told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Harrison “would love” to play for the Browns. He has many connections to northeast Ohio, because he is from Akron. Harrison also played for the Kent State Golden Flashes in college and worked with new Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton on the Steelers staff for quite some time. He would be a huge get for the Browns, and they really need a playmaking 3-4 OLB who can get after the passer.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: Cleveland Browns James Harrison New England Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers Tom Brady

  • eddie kay

    The steelers f ed up on this one.harrison had 6 sacks last year on one leg.

    • Joe Soriano

      It’s funny how people say he’s lost a step, because it’s only true as far as his edge rushing ability goes (then again, how much did they injury affect him?). But the crazy thing is that his nasty run defense goes overlooked, and that’s where his true value is. Do I think he’s going to the Pats? No, the Pats have bigger issues to worry about. Would I be mad if they signed him? Heck no.

      As for the Browns, they would be salivating at the chance to upgrade their LB corps and add a talent like Harrison to that defense. He would give them the edge they need, and you can imagine Ray Horton is calling up Lombardi and telling him, “Hey listen man, Harrison wants to come back to his home state…let’s see what we can do.”