Maurkice Pouncey: James Harrison wanted off Steelers

James Harrison playing for the New England Patriots seems like some bizarre tale from an alternate football universe. But before the Steelers' faithful criticizes the team for its decision to waive the veteran linebacker, Maurkice Pouncey wants everyone to know that the team's all-time sack leader allegedly was itching for his release.

"He wanted that," Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey told reporters Wednesday. "It wasn't like the team said, 'Oh, we're going to let go of James Harrison.' James Harrison wanted that."

The Patriots signed Harrison on Tuesday after the Steelers cut him Saturday and he cleared waivers. Harrison made it clear he's looking forward to his new foray with the Steelers' longtime AFC rival when he posted a photo of himself and Tom Brady smiling together on Instagram.

It makes sense Harrison would want out of Pittsburgh since the team wasn't playing him. Harrison obviously feels he has something to bring to an NFL team -- otherwise he wouldn't have come back this season or continue his insane workout regimen. That's why Pouncey says it makes sense the Steelers cut Harrison.

"I mean, it's funny to read the stories," Pouncey said. "This is something he wanted to do, you know what I'm saying? It wasn't like they got together and said, 'We're going to cut James.' No, that's not what happened. And he needs to come out and admit that."

For Pouncey, he believes Harrison needs to set the record straight -- that he simply wanted out of Pittsburgh so he could continue his career.

"Honestly, I mean, trust me, if I wanted out, I wouldn't let the team take the blame for it," Pouncey said. "I'd tell you I don't want to be here. I want to be gone. I want to go somewhere else and play differently. I want to go start somewhere else. That's me as a man. That's what I would do. I'm not going to run from it and say, 'Ah, the team didn't play me, I want to get cut.' Like, no, that's not what it was. I'm glad the team is being respectful like that, but we're going to speak the truth."

Harrison is schedule to speak with the media Friday. Perhaps we'll find out his side of the story then.

UPDATE: Harrison shared his take on what happened with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday.