Bengals release LB Harrison

Cincinnati, OH ( - The Cincinnati Bengals released former NFL Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison on Thursday after just one season with the club.

The veteran linebacker joined the Bengals as a free agent in 2013 and helped lead the team to the AFC North Division title by amassing 40 tackles, two sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in 15 games (10 starts).

"It was great for our coaches, players and fans to have James on our team last year," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "He's a player everyone looks up to because of his ability, his accomplishments and his drive to be the best. He helped us win a division title with his play and with the example he set.

"It's time for us to go a different direction now, with some younger guys, but we will all still reap benefits from having had James with us as a Bengal last year."

Prior to joining the Bengals, Harrison played nine seasons with Pittsburgh, earning five Pro Bowl berths, two first-team All-Pro selections and the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year honor.

The Akron, Ohio native first entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Kent State before developing into a star and helping Pittsburgh to a pair of Super Bowl titles during his time in the Steel City.