FOXBORO -- The buzz in the Patriots locker room this week, albeit media-generated, was focused on one topic: James Harrison.
As Harrison got organized at his new locker, in the corner of the room where linebackers like David Harris and Dont'a Hightower reside, his new teammates spoke about what it meant to have him around. Many focused on his story.
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The room is loaded with "underdogs," with the No. 199 pick in the 2000 draft being the most famous of the group, making Harrison a natural fit in some ways.
Before becoming the all-time leader in sacks for the Steelers, he was undrafted, bounced on and off the Steelers practice squad, spent time in NFL Europe, and then re-started his NFL career in earnest to become one of the best defenders in the league. In 2008, he was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year.
Here are some of the reactions Patriots players had on Wednesday to Harrison's addition:
Duron Harmon: "Undrafted free agent. Wasn't the most polished but just kept getting better and better. It's a pleasure to have him here. Welcome him with open arms and hopefully, he can do some things to help us . . . I'd say the most important thing about his story not letting anybody set limits on you. It looked like with him, somebody tried to set limits on him, told him he probably wasn't good enough, he's too short. But time and time again, he proved people wrong. Became defensive MVP. Just his story itself shows somebody who never quit. Always fought. Always tried to get better and it worked out for him."
Trey Flowers: "Definitely, he's one of the guys I watched. Him being physical and going out and making plays. His story and things like that, you have to have tremendous respect for a guy like that . . . As far as out there on the field, the terminology and things like that, you can help him with that, but he knows what he's doing and he's coming in and getting it rolling."
Eric Lee: "Honestly, I feel like it's a great addition. It's one of those things where it's kind of like the next-man-up situation. I'm in a position where I can help others the same way others helped me when I came in. Just focused on the game plan, the Jets, and just working with him and everybody on the team to get as gelled as possible. I remember when I came in that was the main focus, learning names, saying his name all the time, just trying to focus on good habits to make his transition, as well as my transition, work."
Deatrich Wise: "He's a great guy. Great player. Legend. Future legend. Glad to have him on the team . . . When I first came here, I found out all the guys who one either didn't play football, were undrafted, went in a late round, everything that wasn't the picture-perfect way of getting into the league and is actually in the league today. Starting. Pro Bowls. Super Bowls. When I first heard their stories and his story, it's the equivalent. It's a big accomplishment for them and very inspirational for me that it doesn't matter how you start, it's how you finish."