Art Rooney II: Disappointing end to James Harrison’s career in Pittsburgh

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James Harrison played 195 games for the Steelers over 14 seasons, including the postseason. He played four games for the Patriots over six weeks, including the postseason.

But those four games with the Patriots have led to a divorce of sorts with the Steelers. Harrison returned to Pittsburgh in 2014 after one season in Cincinnati, but it’s safe to say he’s burned the last bridge out of town this time.

“We had discussions about James over the course of the season, and I’ll just say it was a disappointment,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said, via Bob Labriola of the team website. “James’ career here, I would have hoped to have it end a different way, so it was a disappointment that it turned out that way. I’ll say that there is probably blame on both sides of the fence on that one, but it’s the way it turned out. In terms of him going to New England, when you make a decision to let a player go, you know somebody can pick them up. You can’t sit here and worry too much about where he might go from here once you’ve made the decision. You are better off moving on.”

The Steelers waived Harrison to activate Marcus Gilbert late in the season. Harrison played a total of 38 snaps for Pittsburgh this season in the five games he was active. He played 69 snaps for the Patriots in the Super Bowl alone.

When Harrison signed with New England, some of his former teammates accused Harrison of forcing the Steelers to cut him with detrimental conduct that included sleeping through meetings and sometimes skipping practice.

“I don’t want to go into the details of what was discussed about it,” Rooney said. “Again, I’ll just say that it is disappointing that a career that James had here to have it end this way. These things happen sometimes. You’d rather not have it happen that way, but that’s where we wound up.”

17 responses to “Art Rooney II: Disappointing end to James Harrison’s career in Pittsburgh

  1. Steelers: an organization with class*.

    *As long as you don’t expect them to give you playing time when they said they would and are okay spending your final two years inactivated.

  2. Clearly he can still play as he was the only Pat that offered consistent pressure upfront. I mean a situational role moving forward since clearly he didn’t have the wear and tear of playing a full season.

  3. The Steelers already got rid of first round bust Jarvis Jones, and so they’re playing their other first round bust Bud Dupree. James Harrison isn’t even close to his prime, but he’s better than some of the guys they’re putting out there for political reasons. Sickening.

  4. Why stay with Pittsburgh and not even make it to the championship game when you can go all the way and REALLY embarrass yourself on the big stage? I read that Harrison really wants to play for 2 or 3 more years, but the Patriots probably would have liked if he could have played 2 or 3 quarters in the SB. Done. Doesn’t get to retire with the team that brought him up. Probably wouldn’t have cared as long as he got that one more ring, but he didn’t. Sometimes when you roll the dice you lose.

  5. And the turncoat didn’t even get a ring out of it.

    James Harrison’s career here will be remembered by one thing: It was all about James Harrison. From the beginning in 2005 when he tried to leave the Super Bowl when he was told he might be inactive to the very end of sleeping through meetings, leaving games early, and refusing to help younger players, he’ll be remembered for who he really was more than anything he ever accomplished on the field. That’s sad, but he did it to himself. Enjoy retirement James, you’ll never be welcome back in the burgh.

  6. Well Art, it’s pretty simple – your brilliant coach deemed that James was done and had nothing to offer the team, while another coach named Belichick (you may have heard of him, he’s pretty good) was prepared to give old James another opportunity on the playing field and in the Super Bowl. Maybe your guy was wrong. But we know that you Rooneys are so patient that you never change coaches.

  7. Harrison made an important contribution during the playoff games for the Pats! I hope he has the opportunity to make the team next season.

  8. I thought this was supposed to be such a classy organization! Harrison still wanted to play, he showed he’s still capable of playing … and the Steelers begrudge him that opportunity because it disrespects the terrible towel? If they were a normal team, he could return after his end-of-career adventures and retire as a Steeler. Like Vince Wilfork did recently in New England — y’know the organization that people love to criticize.

  9. “I would have hoped to have it end a different way”

    In other words, we would like to have cut him with him just going away, rather than showing us up in the post season with the Patriots.

  10. Yes, disappointing end to his Steelers career AND his short lived Patriots career as well. His name was mentioned once in the Super zbowl and that was to point out that “his name was not being mentioned on making plays while Foles had plenty of time to carve them up”.

  11. The Steelers crack me up. It’s obvious JH has a lot of gas left in the tank, but these arrogant clowns think they can control him. The way this has played out says more negative things about the Pitt organization than him.

  12. This is how dysfunctional organizations operate. Steelers kicked Harrison out of the door and he was forced to come crawling to Cincinnati. Then the Steelers brought him back and realized what a has been he was. So he goes to NE out of spite and gets his clocked cleaned during the Superbowl. Keep in mind that Harrison is one of the dirtiest players ever. Even with the helmet to helmet rules, he openly defied the NFL and kept injuring players with his empty head. Both the Steelers and Harrison got exactly what they deserved.

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