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: Dec 13, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:43 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

If you believe that, you don't watch the Ravens play the Steelers.  But then again, he wasn't the one who broke Ben's nose.  That was Ngata.  Of course, no penalty, no fine, no suspension.  Ray Lewis, same deal.  If Goodell wants to outlaw physical football, at least be consistent and fair.   

Since: Nov 23, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:38 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game


Wow!  a Philly fan which means you have no man's view because you have no pair Philly if you happen to know what being a "Philly" means.  You are an arm chair idiot that likes all that violence don't you?  Just as long as it isn't you getting the snot knocked out of you.  For your information or rather in spite of your total ignorance and blindness to what happened on that play, goodie two shoes Harrison could have hit McCoy below the helmut legally.  There was absolutely no way for McCoy to avoid that hit. Maybe they should let 350 pound guys attack other guys at the knees too.  You would need about 50 lineman just to get through the season.  Of course, you would sit in your chair like Beavis and Butthead and talk about how cool that is while drinking a beer.  You take care of business by winning on the scoreboard but if you bother to read an earlier post I made I describe another way to do it as well as a team which I stated but don't prefer.  It would be a shame if Harrison with an IQ of what 10?  Got their franchise QB Ben injured wouldn't it?  Then again you are probably just mad because the Eagles suck.  I wouldn't blame you, in fact I would actually agree with you, the Eagles do SUCK but not yours becausse you lack a pair.   

Since: Dec 13, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:37 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

That would be awesome!  Goodell's body parts would be all over the field.   

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:33 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

No.  Suggs never pulls up on a QB.  But he also never drives his helmet into the facemask of the QB.  He plays within the rules.

Since: Jul 23, 2009
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:33 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

I would love to see Roger Goodell in pads with James Harrison lined up about 5 yards away............think NFL would have a new commish, lol

Since: Dec 13, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:31 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

275 pounds?  Come on.  Harrison is 240 at the most.  He's just tough as nails.  You would love him if he played for your sorry team.    

Since: Dec 13, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:26 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

Has Suggs ever pulled up on Ben (or anybody else for that matter) when given the chance to put him out?  How about Brian Dawkins or Urlacher?  Do they pull up or go 100%?  That's what makes the game what it is.  Except Harrison happens to play for the Steelers who are targeted by the league with outrageous fines and suspensions.  Don't get me started on Ben's 4-game suspension when he wasn't even charged with a crime.    

Since: Nov 23, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:25 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

A one game suspension?  Why not give him a pay raise and pat him on the fanny for the hit the S.O.B.  Some of the idiots on this site that think this hit was legal or minor or clean or whatever should get hit like that while in pads to the face guard by a 275 pound guy with the top of his helmut on so they know what that really feels like.  It couldn't hurt anymore than perhaps knock some sense in them.  What does outside the pocket have to do with the guy going helmut to face guard?  Also, why the picture there of that Harrison standing close by like he gives a darn? 

Okay Steelers fans, here is what I would propose to do.  Rematch in Cleveland January 1st, no problem.  Get the meanest nastiest guy or guys on defense and say look, let's all chip in on the fine both offense and defense.  Then we drop Ben like a bad habit.  Ankle or knee or whatever.  End of Steelers season.  The Browns almost broke his ankle last week legally.  Cleveland is not going to postseason this year and I am not a Browns fan.  They came to Pittsburgh to give the Steelers a game and they did.  Now let the Steelers come back to Cleveland to get hurt. 

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:23 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game


Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:19 pm

NFL suspends James Harrison one game


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