New England Patriots

James Harrison (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

James Harrison jumping from the Steelers to the Patriots is one of the more eye-opening moves of the 2017 NFL season. In light of that, the linebacker defended his “business decision” amid harsh criticism from his ex-teammates.

Speaking to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac, Harrison gave his side of the story. He never denied that he wanted out of the Steelers and asked to be released. In fact, he admitted that he asked Mike Tomlin to cut him loose the day after the Steelers lost to the Patriots.

As a result, he got his wish five days later. And now he’s in New England.

Why did he want out?

Harrison admitted unhappiness with his drastically reduced role with the Steelers in 2017. But to clarify, he said that the team promised him more playing time than he ultimately received.

“I have to assume when they say you’re going to get 25 percent of the snaps and you get 25, safe to say things didn’t go as planned,” said Harrison. “After the first week of the season, I said to them, it’s clear you want to play your younger guys and I understand. So why don’t you release me. You go on your way and I’ll go on mine. They said, ‘No, no, no, we got a role for you.’ ”

RELATED: James Harrison Ripped By Ex-Steelers Teammates

Additionally, Harrison said that the Steelers told him to be ready for a lot of playing time against the Patriots.

He played zero snaps.

“If I didn’t play in the biggest game of the year, that told me I wouldn’t get any more snaps. So all that lip service you gave me before didn’t matter,” said Harrison.

James Harrison (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

James Harrison (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Only Business?

Harrison knew as well as anyone that the NFL is ultimately a business and both sides need to do what’s best for the business side of things. The linebacker felt he was better off leaving Pittsburgh, where he couldn’t see the field, and joining the Patriots where he has a chance to boost a beleaguered front-seven beset by injuries.

“I can’t sit there on ‘ifs,’ and I’m not playing. I wasn’t upset, I’m not mad, it’s a business. But at the end of the day, I have to make a business decision,” said Harrison. “I cleared waivers, New England had called and said they wanted me to come up and we talked. At 4:30 that afternoon, I flew to Boston and there was no communication from the Steelers about anything.”

SEE ALSO: Bill Belichick Shuts Down James Harrison Questions

Harrison didn’t exactly refute anything that his former teammates said about him. It’s clear now that the linebacker wanted out of Pittsburgh and that he saw a better opportunity in New England. Now, the question is what he does with it.

— By Matt Dolloff,

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff.