After he was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers, veteran linebacker James Harrison drew interest from other teams, according to his agent, Bill Parise. However, Harrison opted to join the Steelers’ main AFC rival, the New England Patriots, due to variety of reasons. Per Josina Anderson of ESPN, Parise said Harrison decided to join the Patriots due to head coach Bill Belichick's reputation among players. Parise said Harrison is also comfortable with the organization's winning pedigree, just like the Steelers. In addition, the 39-year-old Harrison will have a chance to add to his Super Bowl rings with the Patriots, but he might face his former team along the way.

Harrison could face Steelers

The Patriots and the Steelers are the top two teams in the AFC and could meet for the conference championship. The Patriots have made it to six straight AFC title games and have won two of the past three Super Bowls, including their comeback from a 25-point deficit against the Atlanta Falcons. Harrison will be a valuable asset for the Patriots in the postseason, as he has played in 19 playoff games in his career, including victories in Super Bowls XL and XLIII. During that span, Harrison had 11 sacks. Harrison also made it to the Pro Bowl five times, was a two-time first-team All-Pro and second-team All-Pro selection, and won the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award.

He also left the Steelers as the franchise’s all-time leader in sacks with 80.5.

Harrison confirms Patriots signing

Earlier, Field Yates of ESPN first reported that Harrison visited the Patriots and then signed with the team. Later, Harrison confirmed the signing by posting a photo with Tom Brady on his Instagram account. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald said Harrison signed a one-year deal with the Patriots.

Howe added that Harrison will practice with the team on Wednesday and will play in the Patriots’ regular-season finale against the New York Jets.

Harrison played just 40 snaps with the Steelers this season, recording one sack in five games. He left the Steelers as the all-time franchise leader in sacks with 80.5 and has a total of 82.5 sacks in his 15-year career, 14 of which were spent with the Steelers and one with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013.

The Steelers parted ways with Harrison to make room for tackle Marcus Gilbert. The Patriots, for their part, released linebacker Trevor Reilly to make room for Harrison on the 53-man roster, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston.