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.”
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.”