PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — A day after Pittsburgh’s all-time sack leader and recently released James Harrison signed a one-year contract with the New England Patriots, Steelers players reacted in a variety of ways.
The harshest criticisms of Harrison, undoubtedly, came from center Maurkice Pouncey, who ripped into Harrison Wednesday by claiming that the 39-year-old linebacker had wanted out of Pittsburgh for some time.
“He erased his own legacy here,” Pouncey said. “It’s funny to read the stories. It’s something he wanted to do. It’s not like [the Steelers] got together and said, ‘Oh, we’re going to go cut James.’ That’s not what happened, and he needs to come out and admit that.”
Pouncey was not alone in expressing displeasure with Harrison’s decision. Fellow outside linebacker Bud Dupree weighed in on Twitter, saying that people assuming Harrison is a victim “need to fall off a cliff of get the facts.”
Everybody acting like Debo a victim y’all need to fall off a cliff or get the facts!
— Big Bud (@Bud_Dupree) December 27, 2017
Others took a different route, with running back Le’Veon Bell among those who declined comment.
But Pouncey held little back, downplaying the strategic impact Harrison could have should the two teams meet again in the AFC Championship Game, and insisting that Harrison is letting the Steelers take the rap for a release he wanted.
“Trust me, if I wanted out, I wouldn’t let the team take the blame for it. That’s me as a man. That’s what I would do. I’m not going to run from it. I’m glad the team is being respectful about that, but we’re going to speak the truth,” he said.
Pouncey’s parting words for Harrison may have been the deepest of his digs.
“It ain’t no problem,“ he added. “A guy don’t want to be here, we don’t care. Bye. Have fun.”