New England Patriots expected to sign James Harrison

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger 'shocked' team released James Harrison

Before a deal is finalized with the Patriots, Harrison will mull other options around the league, including a return to the Steelers, according to CBS Sports.

Harrison, 39, has played 40 snaps through 14 games on the season and has just one sack.

Harrison cleared waivers Monday making him a free agent.

The Steelers and Patriots could potentially meet in the AFC Championship Game, which would set up a matchup between Harrison and his former team. The addition of a veteran talent like Harrison could be a stroke of genius from the Patriots this late in the season. His playing time really took a dip over the last few weeks, as T.J. Watt and Budd Dupree have taken a majority of the reps at outside linebacker this season. The Patriots and the Steelers now share the AFC spotlight with 12-3 records, made possible by New England's controversial, last-second win at Heinz Field on December 17. It's unlikely that having gone to the Patriots Harrison will suddenly morph back into 27-year-old James Harrison. Harrison has proven his worth as a pass rusher in the past, and still has plenty left in the tank.

With his best days behind him, Harrison seemed destined to call it a career soon and settle into a long career as a TV personality on a pregame show somewhere. He did not get into the game in the Week 15 classic between the Pats and Steelers.

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