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Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger ‘shocked’ team released James Harrison

The news of the Pittsburgh Steelers releasing veteran linebacker and all-time sacks leader James Harrison caught quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completely off-guard, per Elizabeth Bloom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“I was shocked,” Roethlisberger said on his weekly radio show on 93.7 The Fan. “You know, I’ve played with that guy for a long time. He’s one of the best that I’ve ever played with. Great teammate, and so it was shocking. I was a little surprised.”

The 39-year-old Harrison had only featured in 40 snaps for the Steelers this season, but it was nevertheless surprising to see Pittsburgh cut ties with one of the franchise’s legendary players.

While Harrison hardly saw much time on the field this year, Roethlisberger still pointed to the veteran’s positive impact during practice, and particularly praised Harrison’s role in the development of left tackle Alejandro Villanueva.

Harrison will also likely be more of an asset for the New England Patriots on the practice field than in actual games, especially if they come up against the Steelers again in the playoffs. The Patriots are always looking for any edge they can get, and the inside information someone like Harrison can provide could potentially pay major dividends at some point in the future if the two teams do meet again.