Blog Entry

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

Posted on: December 13, 2011 10:49 am
Edited on: December 13, 2011 5:27 pm
Harrison's physical style finally caught up to him. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The NFL announced Tuesday that Steelers linebacker James Harrison has been suspended one game for his hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy last Thursday night,'s Mike Freeman confirms.

Harrison can appeal the NFL's ruling, but based on head coach Mike Tomlin's comments Tuesday afternoon, the team is planning to be without him in San Francisco. 

James Harrison suspended
"We have to prepare as if he is not going to play, of course," Tomlin said, according to the Twitter feed. "We will move forward, James will move forward." 

More Tomlin, via the Rapid Reporter Chuck Finder: "We're disappointed. We're disappointed for James because we know how hard he's worked to play within the rules, [but] he has to be accountable for that so we accept the judgment rendered by the league office." 

While the Steelers are planning to be without their Pro Bowl linebacker, Harrison's agent says he will appeal. 

"James and I will have a discussion and figure out our next step," agent Bill Parise told the Post-Gazette. "The procedure would be to appeal. James and I will work through that and ask for an expedited hearing because we're dealing with a suspension. 

"My job right now is to continue to read this and talk to my client and he and I together will make an intelligent decision and we'll move expediently." 

It was Harrison's first roughing-the-passer penalty of the season. A year ago, he was fined $100,000 for flagrant hits on then-Titans quarterback Vince Young ($5K), Browns' receiver Mohamed Massaquoi ($75K), and Saints quarterback Drew Brees ($20K).

At the time, Harrison said "I don't know. I guess try and be more aware about the placement of my face mask. I don't know how you tackle someone and not use any part of your head, especially if you're trying to see what you're hitting. I mean, your face mask is going to touch them."

On Monday, Harrison said he shouldn't be suspended.

"I don't think it's suspension-worthy," he said after practice, according to Finder. "I don't think it's worthy of anything, but that's just my own personal thoughts."

CBS' NFL insider Charley Casserly beaks down James Harrison's hard hit on Colt McCoy.

The NFL determined that the hit was illegal because even though McCoy had tucked the ball to run, and had taken five steps before deciding at the last second to throw the ball, he's still considered a quarterback and afforded the rules that protect them. At no time during the play was McCoy, in the league's eyes (and according to the rules), considered a runner.

"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."

CBS Sports' Charley Casserly said Sunday that ignorance of the rules wasn't an excuse.

"The league office told [Harrison]: next infraction, escalating discipline, including a possible suspension," Casserly said on The NFL Today. "Head coach Mike Tomlin went to the league office this year to do what I call 'a review of the rules.' From the league's point of view, there's no excuse for any Steeler not knowing the rules."

Sports Illustrated's Peter King thought there might be a chance Harrison would avoid suspension:

“A league source tells me there will be one major mitigating factor in deciding whether to suspend or fine Harrison and that is this: Colt McCoy took five full strides with the ball as a runner, leading Harrison to believe that he could hit him as if he were a running back. I believe he should be only fined and not suspended.”

So would Harrison change anything on the play that left McCoy with a concussion?

"Knowing I got a penalty, yeah I would have did it differently," he said.

Harrison missed four games earlier this season with an eye injury. Pittsburgh went 4-0 over that stretch with some combination of LaMarr WoodleyLawrence TimmonsJason Worilds and Chris Carter taking snaps at the two outside linebacker positions.  Woodley, who suffered a hamstring injury against the Patriots on October 30 and has been on the field for just a few series since, is set to return against the 49ers

Shortly after the NFL's ruling, Harrison tweeted: "Thank you to all my fans and supporters, I'm just going to move on from here and get ready for my next game." 

In all likelhood, that next game will be on December 24 when the Steelers host the Rams

Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark was fined $40,000 earlier this season for a hit on Baltimore tight end Ed Dickson (head coach Mike Tomlin was said to be furious about the punishment). Troy Polamalu was also fined, once for a horse-collar tackle in Week 1, and again in late October for using a cell phone on the sidelines during a game.

                                                                                                                                                                                          (Getty Images)
This is only the third time NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has suspended a player since replacing Paul Tagliabue in 2006. Albert Haynesworth was suspended five games after stomping on the head of center Andre Gurode. Ndamukong Suh was suspended two games last month for stepping on the arm of a Packers player.

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Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:19 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Dec 5, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:17 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

The NFL does not like the Pittsburgh Steelers or James Harrison for that matter.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:09 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

Right why pull up when you can taqke the other quaterback out of the game......I mean tackle him any way you can he's got the ball right.?   Oh he didnt have the ball ...oops  1 day off  NEXT QUESTION ?

Since: Sep 30, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:09 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

If woudln't have tucked and ran with it the penalty/suspension would just about make sense to me but he was taking off, well out of the pocket.  Thats the biggest problem.. well other than the rule itself which needs fine tuneing that could include some leway (as far as fine/suspension) for those instances where the offensive player who moves and causes himself to take a helmet hit.

Since: Dec 13, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:03 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

Pull up?  Are you serious?  What are you a Bengals fan?  Any linebacker that pulls up on a legitimate hit shouldn't be on the field.  Get a clue.   

Since: Oct 25, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 8:54 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

Harrison's intention was to hit McCoy as hard as he could, despite the fact that he said he knew that McCoy had thrown the ball ("chuck and duck"). That's who he is, that's what he does, he tries to gain an advantage through intimidation, and everybody, including the league office, knows it.  Look, nobody wants to take hard hits out of the game, it's part of what makes the game exciting, but guys like Harrison who take advantage of a guy who is in a defenseless position, like McCoy was, deserve fines and suspensions until they learn to pull up after the ball is thrown like everybody else in the league does.  Unsportsmanlike conduct any way you look at it.

Since: Mar 30, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2011 8:53 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

Next time one of you pansies sees a vicious hit, send an e-mail to Roger Goddell and tell him to review the hit because it sure seemed like it hurt. 

I've noticed there are 2 extremes on this website on whether the hit warranted a suspension, is Harrison a dirty player, or is it just a case of an overzealous commissioner.  Or as I call it, Mary's view v. the Man's view. 

Next time you Marys complain about a hit, turn the TV channel to Ice Skating.  Remember the movie "Remember the Titans".  The QB took care of business on the field.  The Browns could have done the same thing to Harrison, but they, like half the people on this site, wear skirts. 

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2011 8:48 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

"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 chucked-and-ducked. He tucked the ball and made like he was about to run. ......So I was going to tackle him."

.............'So instead of tackling him, I launched my helmet into his face.'

Since: Dec 13, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 8:34 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

Oh contrare.....uou must have not played football with an ignorant view point like you have. I have played. They teach you from peewee leagues to hit them hard and make them grunt when you hit them. Face it.....they all know when they sign their name on the dotted line that they could get hurt and they make more money in one year then you or I do in a lifetime. This is football, not two hand touch, not flag football. you cant unteach something thats been engrained into someone for over 15 years and expect them to change in a year. If you think that then you have never played the game.

Since: May 11, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 8:34 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

"This was Harrisons first offense this year and didn`t warrent anything more than a $25,000 fine"

I don`t think the slate gets wiped clean, just because he`s been a "good little boy", during this season. Seems he should be thanking Goodell for going easy on him this time. Go ahead and boycott, no one would probably even notice if you weren`t around anyway

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