Steelers' Harrison doesn't believe a suspension is warranted
December 13, 2011 3:00 PM
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
Linebacker James Harrison could face a suspension for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Colt McCoy Thursday.
By Gerry Dulac Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
James Harrison said he doesn't think he will be suspended by the NFL for his penalized hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy. Nor is he going to worry about the possibility.
Harrison, a Pro Bowl outside linebacker who has been the target of heavy fines by commissioner Roger Goodell, is expected to receive another substantial fine for his helmet-to-helmet hit on McCoy, who was diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms after the game.
But he could find out today or Wednesday if he will be suspended by the league for his hit, which drew a 15-yard penalty, because he is a repeat offender.
Harrison was at practice Monday at the team's South Side facility -- the Steelers' first workout since Thursday night's 14-3 victory against the Browns in which McCoy came out of the game after he was leveled by Harrison.
McCoy returned several plays later and, according to Browns coach Pat Shurmur, wasn't diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms until after the game. That has caused the NFL to investigate whether the Browns violated league protocol with players who sustain any type of head injury.
"I don't think it's suspension-worthy," Harrison said. "I don't think it's worthy of anything, but that's just my own personal thoughts."
Harrison was fined $100,000 in 2010 for several illegal hits, but hasn't been fined this season. The question now, though, is will he be suspended for another helmet-to-helmet hit, three of which have occurred against the Browns in the past two years at Heinz Field.
The NFL said Harrison's hit was illegal because he violated a rule "that prohibits defensive players from using their helmet against a passer who is in a defenseless posture, including by forcibly hitting the passer's head or neck area with the helmet or facemask."
"They didn't even call helmet-to-helmet; they called roughing the passer," Harrison said. "He took off running with it and, at the last second, he like chuck and ducked.
"He tucked the ball and made like he was about to run. So I was going to tackle him."
Defensive captain and linebacker James Farrior said he would be upset if Harrison were suspended.
"I just think it's an act of football," Farrior said, "I know it was an illegal hit, but it's within the framework of the game. It's not intentional. Sometimes stuff like that happens. We understand the penalty, we understand the rules, but it is a part of the game."
Asked if he would be upset if he were suspended, Harrison said. "I'm not going to go with ifs. I don't have to worry about that. We'll see what happens when the time comes and I'll give you what I got on it then."