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Bouchette: James Harrison Says There’s No Bad Blood With Steelers, Would Attend Reunions

Fans may still feel rage whenever they see James Harrison’s name pop up (and if so, this ain’t the post for you) but the feeling isn’t the same if you ask Harrison.

Harrison, who retired earlier this week, talked to the PPG’s Ed Bouchette and said there’s no ill will between him and the Steelers. The ugly departure was simply all business.

““I have no problem with the Steelers family,’’ Harrison told Bouchette. “I have no problem with the Rooneys. They made a business decision that was best for their organization. I made a business decision that was best for me and family at the time.”

After riding the bench for most of the season, Harrison essentially forced his way out of Pittsburgh, upset that he felt like the team lied to him about playing time. Before the team let him go, he had played just 40 snaps on the season. He went on to sign with the New England Patriots, seeing a bigger role before losing the Super Bowl to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Football had taken time away from family, the chief reason why he retired, and he told Bouchette as much, saying he “couldn’t take another year, 6-8 months, where I’m not there.”

Bouchette’s article states that Harrison would return for any reunion or anniversary event created by the team. That’s in contrast to other ex-Steelers who still hold a grudge with the organization like Terry Bradshaw and Troy Polamalu both of which have rarely been seen in connection with the Steelers. Most recently, Bradshaw did not attend their inaugural Hall of Honor class, of which Bradshaw was elected a member. He cited scheduling conflicts but if you believe that…I’ll sell you beachfront property in Fox Chapel.

Harrison leaves the game as the all-time Steelers’ sack leader with 80.5 and one of the most feared players of his era. Though it’s unclear if it will happen some day, this olive branch from Deebo suggests he could eventually retire as a Steeler. Art Rooney II was asked about that in February and left the door open, though noted “we’ll probably let the dust settle.”

“You know, James had a great career here and obviously the way it ended was disappointing from a lot of different standpoints,” Rooney said. “So, look, the end of player’s careers is sometimes not very pretty. I mean, seeing Franco Harris in a Seahawks jersey, it was like a one of our worst nightmares. So, things like this happen at the end of player’s careers and like I said, we’ll probably let the dust settle for a while and we’ll see where that goes.”

The article has several other good nuggets of information to read including Harrison’s thoughts on if he will get inducted to the Hall of Fame. So be sure to check it out – we’ll again include the link here. 

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