FOXBORO, Mass. — Patriots outside linebacker James Harrison caused a stir when he stood by himself, away from his teammates, during the national anthem prior to his New England debut.
Patriots players stand in a line on the sideline during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before each game and put a hand on the shoulder of the teammate or coach next to him.
And they forgot to tell Harrison, who signed with the team Tuesday. Whoops.
“I did not know what was going on,” Harrison said. “I was not clued — they did not tell me about that.
“It don’t matter. That’s where I normally stand. I’ve been standing for, I don’t know, 15, 16 years.”
So, no, Harrison did not stand away from his new teammates as an act of defiance. He just didn’t know what was happening around him.
Harrison finished his Patriots debut with two sacks, five tackles and a forced fumble. That’s quite a debut for a player who only was on the field for 40 snaps in 16 weeks with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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