Tomlin expects Harrison back tomorrow

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Coach Mike Tomlin said this afternoon he expects James Harrison to return to practice on Thursday and to play for the Steelers Sunday in Miami.

Harrison and his agent, in several interviews, said the linebacker was considering retiring after he was fined $75,000 by the NFL for what it ruled an illegal hit in Sunday's game against Cleveland at Heinz Field.

Tomlin, who still insisted today that hit was legal, talked this morning with Harrison, who then left the building.

"He didn't go home," Tomlin said. "I asked him to ... I'm sure he'll be back in the building tomorrow."

Tomlin said that the past few days have been a "very emotional thing for James and that it bothers the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker to be perceived as a dirty player.

Linebacker James Farrior, the Steelers' defensive captain, also said he expects Harrison to return to work Thursday.

Harrison said in some radio interviews that he would rather retire than be hamstrung by the kinds of rules that the NFL charged he violated with a hit Sunday on Cleveland Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. The NFL fined Harrison $75,000 on Tuesday for that hit.

"How can I continue to play this game the way that I've been taught to play this game since I was 10 years old?" Harrison said on Sirius XM Radio this morning. "And now you're telling me that everything that they've taught me from that time on, for the last 20-plus years, is not the way you're supposed to play the game anymore. If that's the case I can't play by those rules. You're handicapping me."

Bill Parise, Harrison's agent, confirmed that the linebacker is contemplating retirement, which is why he met with Tomlin this morning.

"That's exactly true," Parise said. "He met with the coach and left for today. He's in the process of contemplating is it possible to play football under these new rules ... 'if I go to work and tackle somebody and get a fine.' "

Parise said there is "no fighting, no arguing," just discussions. He said Harrison has been talking with his coaches, the Steelers, his mother and the agent.

Harrison signed a six-year, $51.2 million contract in April 2009 that included a reported $20 million in bonuses. If Harrison would retire before the contract expires, the Steelers could demand he pay back some of those bonuses.


For more on the Harrison and the fine, read the blog, Ed Bouchette On the Steelers at www.post-gazette.com/plus . Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com .


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