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

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.”