Free agent James Harrison visiting team

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger 'shocked' team released James Harrison

Many of them questioned how the franchise could part ways with their all-time sack leader just before the playoffs.

Former linebacker James Harrison went unclaimed on waivers and is now a free agent, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. He played a backup role at outside linebacker this season. However, it might be hard to compete with the Patriots who have a number of Super Bowl trophies at which they can point for proof positive that Harrison's likely goal of another championship is best pursued in Foxborough. He has spent his entire career trying to sack Tom Brady; now, he could be moments away from officially being his teammate.

With the release, of course, everyone started to speculate where he could wind up next, and one of the popular options making the rounds was the New England Patriots. So, maybe he'll be fresh and bolster the Patriots' pass rush come January. The team also uses linebackers Kyle Van Noy, Trevor Reilly and Marquis Flowers at the end of the line, depending on the package.

Bill Belichick is working his magic in the hopes of getting the Patriots a belated Christmas gift. He's a two-time first-team All-Pro and two-time second-team All-Pro. Belichick has also respected and admired Harrison from afar.

The injuries have not tripped them up too much, as they still hold their own destiny in the AFC for the No. 1 seed in the AFC and home-field advantage.

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