Steeler Nation's worst nightmare has become reality: James Harrison is a New England Patriot.
Fresh off his release from the Pittsburgh Steelers, the veteran linebacker visited Gillette Stadium on Tuesday and later signed with New England.
Harrison confirmed the signing with an Instagram post on Tuesday before the Patriots made an official announcement.
The Patriots had not made a waiver claim on Harrison, who was cut by Pittsburgh on Saturday to make room for tackle Marcus Gilbert's return, but will add him to the roster ahead of the playoffs. The signing could make for an interesting reunion between Harrison and Pittsburgh should the Patriots and Steelers meet in the AFC championship game.
Before the deal was finalised, Harrison was mulling other options around the league, including a return to the Steelers. Pittsburgh, though, realised Harrison could be scooped up by New England, Tennessee or Baltimore.
Harrison, 39, recorded one sack in five games this season but saw his playing time significantly reduced as the Steelers turned to rookie linebacker T.J. Watt and third-year linebacker Bud Dupree. Harrison remains Pittsburgh's all-time leader with 80.5 career sacks. To make room for Harrison, the Patriots released linebacker Trevor Reilly.
The Steelers and Patriots each secured a bye through to the divisional round, though New England can clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win over the Jets in their regular-season finale on Sunday.