Steelers release James Harrison

The Pittsburgh Steelers have released veteran linebacker James Harrison.

Signed by the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2002 and released the following year, Harrison became one of the team's leaders when he returned in 2004 and helped the franchise to a pair of Super Bowl titles in his 10 seasons.

"James has been an integral part of our success during his years in Pittsburgh and has helped us win two Lombardi trophies during that time," said Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert in a statement Saturday. "We appreciate all of his efforts and wish him the best."

Harrison started 95 of the 131 games he played with the Steelers and ranks fourth in franchise history with 64 sacks. He was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, earned five straight trips to the Pro Bowl from 2007-11 and was named All-Pro three times.

"James has played a major role in the success of this organization during his time in Pittsburgh," said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on Saturday. "I appreciate everything he has done in my six years as head coach and wish him nothing but the best in the future."

In addition, Harrison played 12 postseason games with the Steelers and registered the longest interception return in Super Bowl history with a 100- yard touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII.

In 13 games last season, Harrison had 70 tackles with six sacks. He notched double-digit sack totals three times during his career, most recently in 2010.

Harrison is also known as one of the hardest hitters in the league, which has led to numerous fines from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.