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: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:47 am

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

no yelling just want everyone to see YOUR stupidity and irrationale thought process?

why would you interpret it as yelling? your thought process again!

Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:46 am

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

dugitman - It makes his argument better.  He yells, you're more convinced.  It's one of the common debating techniques used when there is no substance to add to the foundation of his stance.  Incidentally, it fits right alongside another common practice of such circumstances, specifically cutting pieces from your opponent's argument so that you can twist what was said.  :)

Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:40 am

NFL suspends James Harrison one game


Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:32 am

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

He broke the rules of the game and is paying for it.  He breaks many rules at home with his kids and they make him pay to.  he breaks windows and floor mats and he likes to throw everything in the dumpster.

Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:21 am

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

Did he break a rule?  This is open to discussion.  But you just witnessed an officer tagging a guy for doing 73 in a 65, while the flow of traffic is going around 75.

enough said, that position explains it all!

and by the way, they also assaulted someone but everyone else was doing it so....


Since: Nov 9, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:09 am

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

This is only the third time NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has suspended a player since replacing Paul Tagliabue in 2006

Goodells argument that this is the 3rd most unsportsmanlike act in the NFL since 2006 is complete crap. Even Browns fans will have to concede that. The NFL continues its transition to the National Touch Football League...Football is a violent physical game full of collisions and it is why we love it. Remove that aspect and its as interesting as watching bowling. McCoy made a poor choice of where he ran and paid the price.

Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:06 am

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

Every one, huh?  You should actually do a little research and you'll discover how divided the general NFL fanbase is on this, and some of them despite their own personal hatred of Harrison.  But the media speaks louder, and they will tout what Goodell and his office put forward, and a faithful flock reiterates their sentiments without looking at the whole of the issues.

You want Steeler fans to be "impartial."  I wonder how impartially any of the folks such as yourself are looking at the inconsistency of the rulings that are made week-to-week.  You're so myopically centered on James Harrison and his track record (again without considering the landscape of that foolishness) that you refuse to see where that hit falls within the whole landscape of hits in the NFL.

Did he break a rule?  This is open to discussion.  But you just witnessed an officer tagging a guy for doing 73 in a 65, while the flow of traffic is going around 75.

Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 7:55 am

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

Correction - those who can see(without rose coloured glasses)that this was very much intentional and the intention also was to do major harm. Harrison has been a non-factor all season and it is mainly because he hasnt played his normal dirty style of football. It doesnt matter how long it takes, 5 years for the ugly side to surface but sorry steeler fan this was cheap and could have easy ended Mccoys career. you are telling me the Suh stomp could have ended a career - not even close to this cheap shot!
this guy is a piece of crap and this will bea non issue soon as he will drop another cheap shot on someone and be gone!

there is no defence on this one and every non steeler fan, sportswriter, and sportscaster in the land cant be wrong!get your head out of you black and gold asses steeler fans!

good riddance to that piece of crap! 

Since: Jun 19, 2009
Posted on: December 14, 2011 7:36 am

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

Take the emotion and passion for your team out of the equation and look at it for what it is.......a deliberate hit to injure the player.  Anyone with an objective view could see that this guy didn't just try to make a good tackle, but instead led with the intent to injure.  The thing is Harrison is a good enough player that he does not have to be a head hunter.  Watch the video montages on ESPN of all his fineable hits and that should change anyone's view of Harrison.  He is a dirty player.  Even his own coach acknowleged that Harrison, " broke the rule ".

Since: Oct 27, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 7:04 am

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

Why doesn't the league just start playing two hand touch instead of tackle football. I watched that hit on youtube 20 times and saw nothing illegal about it. McCoy tucked the football to run and at the last second decided to throw the ball. Harrison has a history of illegal hits so the refs have their hands holding their flags when ever he's close to a play. Maybe the new rule should be two hand touch just for quarterbacks. It's obvious that the league doesn't want quarterbacks to be touched. McCoy put himself in a bad spot. It stinks he got a concussion but it's his own fault.

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