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James Harrison not the first Pittsburgh athlete to anger fans by bolting for another team | TribLIVE.com
Steelers/NFL

James Harrison not the first Pittsburgh athlete to anger fans by bolting for another team

James Harrison shocked Steelers fans when the free agent chose to sign with the New England Patriots on Tuesday.

The Steelers cut Harrison on Saturday, and he took a trip to Foxborough, Mass., on Tuesday after clearing league waivers. He signed later that afternoon.

He is not the first athlete to leave via free agency or request a trade from a Pittsburgh team.

Here is a list of some of the notable players who have left the city — sometimes upsetting the fan base — to find possible success and riches in other cities.

• Pirates left fielder Barry Bonds: Left the Pirates, one of the best teams in baseball at the time, after winning two MVP awards. He signed as a free agent with San Francisco Giants before the start of the 1993 season for a record $43.75 million over six years. He went on to become baseball’s career home run king with 762.

• Pirates slugger Bobby Bonilla: Signed as a free agent with the New York Mets in 1991. Bonilla played three positions and hit 114 home runs for the Pirates in six seasons. He retired in 2001, but he parlayed his Mets contract into an annual pay day in which he will be paid $1.19 million every July 1 through 2035.

• Penguins forward Jaromir Jagr: Superstar Czech forward Jaromir Jagr, who spent 11 seasons with the Penguins and won two Stanley Cups and five scoring titles, requested a trade during the 2000-01 season and got it that summer. He and defenseman Frantisek Kucera went to the Washington Capitals for three prospects. Ten years later, the Penguins openly tried to bring him back, but he spurned their one-year, $2 million offer to sign with the Philadelphia Flyers for one-year, $3.3 million. He is still playing for the Calgary Flames — his ninth NHL team — at the age of 45.

• Penguins right winger Marian Hossa: He signed as free agent with the Detroit Red Wings in July 2008, thinking he had a better chance to win a Stanley Cup. As it turned out, Hossa and the Red Wings lost the Stanley Cup Final in Game 7 that year to the Penguins.

• Steelers running back Franco Harris: Harris, 34, stayed away from Steelers training camp in 1984 in a contract dispute, causing coach Chuck Noll to famously refer to him as “Franco Who.” Fed up with the stalemate, the Steelers released Harris, who was only 363 yards from Jim Brown’s NFL career rushing record. Two months later, he was cut by the Seahawks.

• Steelers quarterback Cliff Stoudt: When he replaced an injured Terry Bradshaw in 1983, Cliff Stoudt was the target of Steelers fans’ increasing wrath with every interception he threw. Then, when he signed with the Birmingham Stallions of the upstart USFL after the season, fans sold out Three Rivers Stadium when Stoudt came to town to play the Pittsburgh Maulers in March. It was the first sellout for the new league. People wore “Boo Stoudt” buttons and aimed iceballs, apples, oranges, full beer cans and frozen Oreos at him, according to Sports Illustrated.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.


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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Barry Bonds left the Pirates after the 1992 season to sign with the San Francisco Giants.
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Jaromir Jagr's NHL career likely ended when the Flames terminated his contract.
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Franco Harris (32) held out of training camp in 1984 and subsequently was released by the Steelers. He played briefly for the Seattle Seahawks before being released.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward finishes off Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith after James Harrison got a hold of him in the fourth quarter Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017 at Arrowhead Stadium.
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James Harrison arrives at Heinz Field for a game against the New England Patriots earlier this season. The Patriots signed Harrison Tuesday after he was released Saturday by the Steelers.
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Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers linebacker James Harrison waves a flag honoring Dan Rooney before a game against the Vikings on Sept. 17, 2017, at Heinz Field.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant stretches the ball past the Texans' Zach Cunningham for a first down in the second quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Stephon Tuitt and Joe Haden celebrate with Artie Burns after Burns' interception of a Texans' pass in the second quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Cameron Heyward sacks Texans quarterback T.J. Yates in the first quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger avoids the Texans' Jadeveon Clowney in the second quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Texans running back Lamar Miller gets outside on the Steelers' Sean Davis in the first quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell avoids the Texans' Marcus Gilchrist on a run in the first quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Maurkice Pouncey celebrates with Roosevelt Nix after Nix's touchdown against the Texans in the second quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant beats the Texans' Jonathan Joseph to setup a touchdown in the first quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger waves to fans as he leaves the field after beating the Texans, 34-6, on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Mike Mitchell celebrates with Cameron Sutton after the Steelers beat the Texans, 34-6, on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward signals to the fans as he leaves the field after beating the Texans, 34-6, on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster takes a selfie with fans after the Steelers beat the Texans, 34-6, on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell dives into the end zone past Texans defenders for a third-quarter touchdown Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Mike Hilton sacks Texans quarterback Taylor Heinicke in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster pulls in a fourth-quarter touchdown pass against the Texans on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster reaches back for a catch over the Texans' Kareem Jackson in the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Mike Hilton celebrates after sacking Texans quarterback Taylor Heinicke in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers cornerback Artie Burns defends against the Texans' Will Fuller V in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell leaves Texans defenders in his wake on the way to a third-quarter touchdown Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Stephon Tuitt causes Texans quarterback T.J. Yates to fumble in the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Mike Hilton sacks Texans quarterback Taylor Heinicke in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Bud Dupree pressures Texans quarterback T.J. Yates in the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Mike Hilton sacks Texans quarterback Taylor Heinicke in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster celebrates Le'Veon Bell's touchdown against the Texans in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Cameron Heyward hits Texans quarterback T.J. Yates after he fumbled in the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Marcus Gilbert celebrates with JuJu Smith-Schuster after his fourth-quarter touchdown against the Texans on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant avoids the Texans' Corey Moore as he runs down the sideline in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws to receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster against the Texans in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Steven Ridley runs against the Texans in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Justin Hunter celebrates his first touchdown against the Texans in the first quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins pulls in a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Steelers on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Justin Hunter hangs on to the ball in the end zone against the Texans' Kevin Johnson in the first quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Cameron Heyward sacks Texans quarterback T.J. Yates in the second quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell makes a catch over the middle against the Texans' Eddie Pleasant in the second quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Cameron Heyward puts a hit on Texans running back Lamar Miller in the second quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Cameron Heyward pressures Texans quarterback T.J. Yates in the second quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant gets his second foot down for a completion against the Texans' Jonathan Joseph in the first quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant stretches the ball past the Texans' Zach Cunningham for a first down in the second quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Stephon Tuitt and Joe Haden celebrate with Artie Burns after Burns' interception of a Texans' pass in the second quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Cameron Heyward sacks Texans quarterback T.J. Yates in the first quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger avoids the Texans' Jadeveon Clowney in the second quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Texans running back Lamar Miller gets outside on the Steelers' Sean Davis in the first quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell avoids the Texans' Marcus Gilchrist on a run in the first quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Maurkice Pouncey celebrates with Roosevelt Nix after Nix's touchdown against the Texans in the second quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant beats the Texans' Jonathan Joseph to setup a touchdown in the first quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger waves to fans as he leaves the field after beating the Texans, 34-6, on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Mike Mitchell celebrates with Cameron Sutton after the Steelers beat the Texans, 34-6, on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward signals to the fans as he leaves the field after beating the Texans, 34-6, on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers linebacker James Harrison warms up before a game against the Ravens on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, at Heinz Field.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster takes a selfie with fans after the Steelers beat the Texans, 34-6, on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell dives into the end zone past Texans defenders for a third-quarter touchdown Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers linebacker James Harrison leaves the field after a 20-15 victory over the Lions Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, at Ford Field in Detroit.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Mike Hilton sacks Texans quarterback Taylor Heinicke in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster pulls in a fourth-quarter touchdown pass against the Texans on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster reaches back for a catch over the Texans' Kareem Jackson in the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Mike Hilton celebrates after sacking Texans quarterback Taylor Heinicke in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers cornerback Artie Burns defends against the Texans' Will Fuller V in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell leaves Texans defenders in his wake on the way to a third-quarter touchdown Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Stephon Tuitt causes Texans quarterback T.J. Yates to fumble in the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Mike Hilton sacks Texans quarterback Taylor Heinicke in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Bud Dupree pressures Texans quarterback T.J. Yates in the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Mike Hilton sacks Texans quarterback Taylor Heinicke in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster celebrates Le'Veon Bell's touchdown against the Texans in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Cameron Heyward hits Texans quarterback T.J. Yates after he fumbled in the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Marcus Gilbert celebrates with JuJu Smith-Schuster after his fourth-quarter touchdown against the Texans on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant avoids the Texans' Corey Moore as he runs down the sideline in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws to receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster against the Texans in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Steven Ridley runs against the Texans in the third quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Justin Hunter celebrates his first touchdown against the Texans in the first quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins pulls in a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Steelers on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Justin Hunter hangs on to the ball in the end zone against the Texans' Kevin Johnson in the first quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
gtrsteelerstexans44122617
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Cameron Heyward sacks Texans quarterback T.J. Yates in the second quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
gtrsteelerstexans47122617
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell makes a catch over the middle against the Texans' Eddie Pleasant in the second quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
gtrsteelerstexans45122617
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Cameron Heyward puts a hit on Texans running back Lamar Miller in the second quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
gtrsteelerstexans46122617
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Cameron Heyward pressures Texans quarterback T.J. Yates in the second quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
gtrsteelerstexans41122617
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant gets his second foot down for a completion against the Texans' Jonathan Joseph in the first quarter Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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