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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Outside linebacker James Harrison told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he took about 30 snaps in his first practice with the New England Patriots on Wednesday and has been told that he will play in Sunday’s season finale against the New York Jets.

Furthermore, Harrison told reporter Gerry Dulac that coach Bill Belichick “has not asked me one thing” about the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Harrison’s first full day with the Patriots on Wednesday began when he was introduced to his new teammates by Belichick in a full-team meeting, and he acknowledged them with a wave, according to players. Players said they didn’t need to hear a list of Harrison’s career accomplishments because they are well known.
Then, about four hours later, Harrison took part in his first Patriots practice, wearing his trademark tinted visor and having been given his No. 92 by third-year defensive end Geneo Grissom. Harrison was a visible presence in the locker room after that when reporters were present later in the day, his locker directly to the right of fellow veteran linebacker David Harris.

Offensive tackle Nate Solder, who has gone up against Harrison in the past, described his addition as “excellent” because the team has “another tool going against the Jets.”

As for what it’s been like facing the 6-foot, 242-pound Harrison in games, Solder said, “Strong, physical guy who knows what he’s doing, smart, obviously well-versed with everything that comes on the football field.”

Harrison’s physical makeup was noted by players, with safety Devin McCourty saying, “He’s a well-put-together human being. Scary looking, some would probably say.”

The physical presence of James Harrison, No. 92, was felt by the Patriots in his first full day with the team. "He's a well-put-together human being," Devin McCourty said.

The physical presence of James Harrison, No. 92, was felt by the Patriots in his first full day with the team. “He’s a well-put-together human being,” Devin McCourty said.

Asked what it means to have Harrison on the team, linebacker Marquis Flowers added, “I know the edge will be set.”

There was widespread respect for Harrison from those in the locker room.

“What he has done in the league, just his whole story, undrafted free agent, how he wasn’t the most polished but just kept getting better and better,” safety Duron Harmon said. “It’s a pleasure to have him here. Try to welcome him with open arms and hopefully he can do some things to help us.”

Added defensive end Trey Flowers, “He’s been doing a lot of great things through his whole career. I’m looking forward to being on the field with him making plays and him continuing his career here.”

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In a span of seven minutes, Marcell Dareus used the words shocking, overwhelming and emotional to describe what he’s felt since he was traded to the Jaguars on Friday evening.

From the phone call from the Buffalo Bills informing him of the trade to his arrival in Jacksonville amid the annual Florida-Georgia game at EverBank Field to meeting the coaching staff to quiet moments in his hotel room, Dareus said he was still trying to adjust even as he participated in his first practice Monday morning.

“I still haven’t gotten over it yet,” Dareus said. “I’m still in shock. I’m shocked for a trade. I’m shocked that this defense, this team … I’m still just taking it all in. It’s three days, man. Three days.”

The Jaguars’ newest defensive tackle said he had an idea that something may have been in the works last week but he continued to prepare for the Bills’ home game against Oakland. When he was told he was headed to Jacksonville in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2018, things started to happen pretty quickly.

Friends and teammates stopped by his home on Friday night to say goodbye, and on Saturday morning he was headed to the airport with a one-way ticket.
“I still haven’t gotten over it yet. I’m still in shock. I’m shocked for a trade. I’m shocked that this defense, this team … I’m still just taking it all in. It’s three days, man. Three days.”

Marcell Dareus said Monday that it's been a whirlwind three days after being traded from the Bills to the Jaguars.

Marcell Dareus said Monday that it’s been a whirlwind three days after being traded from the Bills to the Jaguars.

Marcell Dareus
“Little overwhelming,” Dareus said. “Kind of saw some things happening but at the same time I was getting prepared for the game and we had a game plan in and I was practicing all week and I’m just zoned in, trying to keep negativity out. And when I got the call and things happened the way it did, I can’t lie it did make me a little emotional because I know [Saturday] it is a one-way ticket [to Jacksonville].

“It was so swift that before I knew it I was already in Charlotte and by the time I got to Charlotte, a blink of the eye and I’m here in Jacksonville saying hey to the coaches, the biggest cocktail party in the world, and with all that going on it was just — the world is spinning. Traded, on the plane, cocktail party, going to the stadium, saying hello, getting out, going to the hotel room laying on the bed looking at the roof: What is going on?”

Dareus isn’t completely unfamiliar with the Jaguars. Doug Marrone was the head coach and Nathaniel Hackett the offensive coordinator in Buffalo in 2013-14. Jason Rebrovich is the Jaguars’ assistant defensive line coach and he was a quality control/assistant defensive line coach under Marrone in Buffalo, too.

That at least helped to somewhat lessen the shock, but he’s now caught up in learning the Jaguars’ defensive system and finding out where he fits in. The Jaguars are last in the NFL against the run (138.6 yards per game) and no team has allowed more than their 5.2 yards per rush. The 6-foot-3, 331-pound Dareus gets headlines because of his prowess as an interior pass-rusher (35 sacks in six-plus seasons) but he’s one of the league’s better run-stuffing tackles.
Dareus had his two best seasons under Marrone, racking up 17.5 sacks in 2013-14 and making the Pro Bowl in both seasons. The move does come with some risk. Dareus has had more than his share of off-field issues — he was benched for being late to a team meeting in 2013, was sent home from a preseason game this year for violating a team rule, was twice suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, and he’s had two offseason arrests — but the Jaguars believe the help the Alabama product can bring the run defense is worth the risk.

“We’re all at risk, myself, everybody,” Marrone said. “I think some people get themselves in situations [and] you hope that they learn from it. If they don’t then obviously there’s consequences.”

Dareus said he’s glad to be getting a fresh start.

“I thought that Buffalo was home and extremely happy for everything I’ve done there, everything they’ve done for me, the organization,” he said. “… “At the same time it’s a business and this is where I am and I am thoroughly happy just to be a Jag. It feels good to be wanted.”