James Harrison weighing options, plans to avoid Steelers repeat

James Harrison's playing-time issues in Pittsburgh last season paved the way for the linebacker to join New England. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

PITTSBURGH -- James Harrison, who is approaching his 40th birthday, wants to be on the field in 2018. That means playing time will be crucial to where he signs in hopes of avoiding the scenario he experienced last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Harrison signed a two-year deal with the team last season, but the relationship turned rocky when the linebacker was left off the field while rookie T.J. Watt started. Harrison wanted to be released from his contract and the Steelers obliged, setting the stage for the New England Patriots to sign him in December.

The Patriots are one of a handful of teams to inquire about Harrison in free agency this offseason. He plans to wait until after the draft to sign anywhere, according to a source with knowledge of Harrison's free-agent negotiations.

The Steelers' all-time sacks leader with 80.5 keeps getting jobs because he can get to the quarterback. Harrison had three sacks in six appearances last season. And there's always the chance Harrison will sign with a team that plays Pittsburgh next season, which would stir quite the storyline considering what was said on Harrison's way out last year.