FOXBORO, Mass. — As is typical when the New England Patriots bring a new player aboard, head coach Bill Belichick is taking the wait-and-see approach with linebacker James Harrison.
The Patriots signed Harrison, who earned five Pro Bowl selections and four All-Pro honors over the course of his illustrious 15-year career, to a one-year contract Wednesday after the Pittsburgh Steelers cut him Saturday.
“He’s played outside linebacker for the Steelers,” Belichick said Wednesday when asked about Harrison’s playing style. “We’ll see how it goes.”
That’s about as verbose as Belichick got when discussing Harrison.
Belichick was asked if he could see any carryover from what Harrison did with the Steelers to how the pass rusher might fit in with the Patriots.
“Yeah, I don’t know,” Belichick said. “We’ll start working with him, see how it goes.”
What are Belichick’s thoughts on Harrison’s career?
“Good,” he said.
The Patriots are one game away from the playoffs. Might Harrison’s experience in big games help?
“Yeah, we can’t control anything,” Belichick said.
The Patriots have played 10 games against Harrison throughout his career. Since they’re so familiar with him, should that speed up the process of seeing how Harrison will fit with the Patriots?
“Yeah, every player is different,” Belichick said.
Harrison spent 14 seasons with the Steelers, who the Patriots could meet again in the AFC Championship Game this postseason. Was that a factor in the signing?
“We’re playing the (New York) Jets this week,” Belichick said. “I don’t know what that has to do with it. I don’t know what that has to do with it. Unless I’m missing something. I don’t know. …
“We’re playing the Jets this week.”
Belichick said he hadn’t previously spent “too much” time with Harrison prior to Tuesday’s visit and signing.
“It’s always good to meet somebody,” Belichick said.
Harrison only played 40 snaps in five games with the Steelers, so he should have fresh legs at this point in the season. Did the Patriots take that into account?
“I don’t know,” Belichick said. “See how it goes.”
So, there you go. That’s all Belichick had to say about the signing. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Harrison play Week 17 against the Jets to get some playing time before a first-round playoff bye.
Harrison will have plenty of time to learn the defense before the really meaningful games start.
Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images