It's an odd sight, seeing James Harrison in a Bengals uniform. But the man who spent much of the previous decade terrorizing quarterbacks in Pittsburgh understands that at the end of the day the NFL is loyal to one thing: money. That holds for both organizations and players. And knowing that, Harrison holds no grudges against his former team, which will face his current team on Monday night.
"It's really not hard to switch allegiances," Harrison said Friday morning, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "It's about where I'm making my money. If you go to a different newspaper you're not going to be loyal to your other one, are you?
"Y'all can't seem to understand that concept," he continued. "It's a job. Yeah, I enjoyed the guys I worked with. I'm thankful for everything they did for me and the Rooneys did for me. But right now, I'm with the Bengals and I'm going to put everything I have into helping the Bengals win just like I did when I was with the Steelers."
The Steelers and Harrison parted ways in March after the two sides couldn't agree on a restructured contract. The linebacker was set to make $6 million in 2013.
Harrison, 35, was asked if his kids had to "trash" their Steelers kit now that he plays for a division rival. He seemed genuinely perplexed by silliness of the question.
"I let them keep it. Why not? They paid me a lot of money. They took care of me and my kids good."
As for Harrison's transition to his new home, it couldn't be better.
"Everybody tells me how they used to hate me but now they love me," he said earlier in the week.
So who is "everybody?"
"Fans," Harrison explained. "Teammates are exceptions automatically. They understand the business. Just come in, open our arms, welcome this guy and get him into the program, and get him up to speed."