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Veteran LB James Harrison a free agent after going unclaimed

Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison went unclaimed on waivers and is now a free agent.

The Steelers released Harrison, the franchise's all-time sacks leader, on Saturday to make room for right tackle Marcus Gilbert, who is returning from suspension.

Harrison, 39, has 80.5 sacks in a Pittsburgh uniform, including at least five sacks in each of the past three regular seasons despite playing a part-time role. Harrison also came up big in the Steelers' past two playoff runs with multiple sacks.

But his role decreased as the Steelers transitioned to more pass-coverage work for outside linebackers Bud Dupree and rookie T.J. Watt.

Harrison has played 40 snaps through 14 games this season, compared to 587 last year. He signed a two-year deal in March.

ESPN Steelers reporter Jeremy Fowler contributed to this report.