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Agent: James Harrison would have rather ‘stayed in Pittsburgh’

The New England Patriots on Tuesday signed James Harrison after the Pittsburgh Steelers surprisingly cut the veteran linebacker over the weekend. But according to his agent, Harrison would have rather “stayed in Pittsburgh” as opposed to signing with the Steelers’ longtime rival.

“His goal was to play football, not to sit somewhere,” Bill Parise told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I think James was very, very agreeable, obviously, to being a part-time player. That wasn’t an issue. It’s just that the way it ended up, he wasn’t playing at all.”

Parise made his remarks shortly after the Patriots made the Harrison signing official on Tuesday evening. Parise indicated since being notified of his Harrison’s release by the Steelers, “from that time to this time, I have not spoken to them at all.”

Harrison’s release and his subsequent signing with the Patriots certainly was a surprising development. It also was not likely the way Harrison would have preferred his time with the Steelers to come to an end after such a standout, lengthy career with the organization. Parise indicated as much.

“I think if we all had our druthers, we would rather James stayed in Pittsburgh and played in a role that he was led to believe he’d be playing in,” Parise said. “We’d all rather have not moved anywhere, but that’s not the way the NFL works.”

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reportedly first reached out to Harrison on Monday. Parise praised the Patriots for being “very methodical about how they do things and the way they make decisions.”

It remains to be seen how much impact, if any, Harrison will have with his new team. And should the showdown between the Patriots and Steelers in the AFC Championship Game play out as generally expected and Harrison makes an appearance? It will be yet another compelling wrinkle in the two longtime adversaries’ storied postseason rivalry.

Either way, Harrison seems quite happy to turn one longtime nemesis into a new teammate.

Finally… A teammate that’s older than me! @tombrady

A post shared by James Harrison (@jhharrison92) on

Well-executed age joke from the 39-year-old Harrison on the 40-year-old Brady, to be sure.