Blog Entry

NFL denies James Harrison's suspension appeal

Posted on: December 16, 2011 10:54 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 2:48 pm
By Will Brinson

The NFL denied Harrison's appeal of his one-game suspension(Getty Images)

Steelers linebacker James Harrison was suspended one game by the NFL this week. He also filed an expedited appeal, and the NFL announced on Friday that his appeal was denied, meaning Harrison will miss the Steelers game against San Francisco Monday.

James Harrison suspended

It's hardly a surprise that Harrison's suspension held up, although because of the way of the hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy unfolded (McCoy became a runner and then decided to pass at the last second), there was a possibility of the punishment being overturned.

"It is clear from the video that you squared up and led with the crown of your helmet when you contacted Colt McCoy," on-field appeals officer Ted Cottrell, who heard the appeal, said in a letter to Harrison. "This is precisely the technique that you must avoid using as a defender. I have determined that your actions were particularly egregious and warranted the discipline imposed by Ray Anderson."

The linebacker's history of violent and/or flagrant hits (the NFL says Harrison's been punished five times for illegal hits on a quarterback) contributed to his punishment and clearly the appeal as well.

 "I'm not surprised. You're appealing to the same people who put the suspension in place, so no, I'm not surprised at all," Steelers safety Ryan Clark said. "I don't care about the league's message anymore. It's about us as a football team playing the type of football that's going to help us win championships, despite who gets suspended, despite who gets fined.

"We're going to try to play within the rules. We're going to stop fighting this battle of talking to them. That's what this is about."

Harrison's hit on McCoy led to plenty of controversy -- not only with Harrison's suspension and Mike Tomlin telling Steelers players to keep quiet, either. McCoy was never checked for a concussion and re-entered the game.

Additionally, the NFL is reportedly set to start handing out lengthy suspensions for on-field violations.

"Like I said on Wednesday, my disappointment is for James," Clark said. "He's been trying really hard to comply with what's being asked of him. For him to be suspended for this situation, to us, is disheartening. To me, it was a between-the-whistle play. They're making an example out of him for it this year. I don't think it's right.

"We have to continue playing and just roll with the punches and try to win games without one of our best players."

Harrison's suspension was the first for an "illegal hit" and he could potentially miss multiple games if he doesn't change his approach to playing defense.

"Oh well. It is what it is," Harrison told Josina Anderson of ESPN. "That's the decision I was expecting anyways. I'll deal with it and move on."

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Since: Feb 8, 2010
Posted on: December 16, 2011 4:41 pm

NFL denies James Harrison's suspension appeal

People defending Harrison's hit as "the way football is supposed to be played" are homers.  One of the best examples of the way it is supposed to be played is London Fletcher's tackle of Tom Brady last week (although I believe he was wrongly penalized, supported by there being no fine).  Fletcher put an absolutely perfect hard hit on Brady with roughly the same amount of reaction time.  Shoulder to chest/fore arm area, head to side, both players continue w/o injury but bet Brady gets down a little quicker next time.  The game can still be rough(Fletcher) w/o being dirty(Harrison).

Since: Oct 19, 2007
Posted on: December 16, 2011 4:34 pm

NFL denies James Harrison's suspension appeal

@ Nic Nat01:  dude, take your racial comments back to Call of Duty multiplayer.  The issue here isn't his race.  The issue is a paradigm shift in the way the game is played.  Under the guise of "protecting players" from injury, subjective rule changes have been implemented that threaten to change the game forever.  It is a devisive issue.  Of course, Steeler fans are a little biased.  We feel we are getting the bum end of the deal based on our reaction to one player. 

The larger issue, bigger than James Harrison, bigger than Suh, is that players get injured.  I work in construction.  OSHA regulates the activities for our work that are deemed "safe."  Those rules and ordinances are in place to protect workers from themselves and each other. These NFL rule changes make sense, from that standpoint.  But, just as with any "safety program," reactive rules tend to endanger participants as much or more than the rule protects them.

So, drop the superior attitude.  In the end, it doesn't make you better, smarter or more popular to downgrade or disparage folks for their poor grammar, their race, their sexual proclivities, or their choice of team to follow.  You end up looking like a dumb, bigoted, backwards, pointy-hat wearing, sleeping with your cousin, chewing tobacco stained, closeted, bra-wearing clod.  You don't want that.

Since: Jul 27, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 4:22 pm

NFL denies James Harrison's suspension appeal

Was this written in english?  

Since: Jul 22, 2009
Posted on: December 16, 2011 4:16 pm

NFL denies James Harrison's suspension appeal


Since: Jan 3, 2009
Posted on: December 16, 2011 4:12 pm

NFL denies James Harrison's suspension appeal

Commissioner (Dictator) Goodell and his loyal minions have been waiting for the opportunity to suspend James Harrison after the comments he (Harrison) made about the dictator this past summer in Men's Journal Magazine.  Harrison had no chance of winning his appeal after he referred to the dictator as the "devil" and also called him "a crook, stupid and a puppet."  Dictator Goodell has turned the NFL into the PFL (Panzy Football League).  Keep up the good work James!  Don't let the dictator turn you into a panzy. 

Since: Nov 15, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 3:38 pm

NFL denies James Harrison's suspension appeal

not public enemy, public idiot #1 more like it, stop the shitsburg boo hoo jiggabboo rant ,da white mansagainst us crap ,use your "terribble" towel to wipe your tears and take out the gerbil before you sit down for MNF.In case yo aint heerd it da rulus be changed

Since: Aug 19, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 3:36 pm

NFL denies James Harrison's suspension appeal

So let me get this straight Montweet. We charge the owner of the convenience store for making his employee work the midnight shift with no medical backup and thus getting in the way of the armed robber who attacks him viciously.    Hmmm. Interesting idea.
So, the comment about suspending Holmgren was just a goof. No one expects a GM to be suspended for this. But I was trying to call attention to his ridiculous statement that Colt McCoy wasn't checked for a concussion during the game because "the training staff hadn't seen the play"...huh? What a silly excuse for not doing their jobs. In all seriousness, there should be some repurcussions for the Browns coaching and training staff for letting McCoy go back out there before doing the sideline tests for a concussion.

Since: Dec 16, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 3:18 pm

NFL denies James Harrison's suspension appeal

Commentposter - I'm certain had that if your IQ was tested, you would be banned from making such frivolous posts. Imbecile.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: December 16, 2011 3:01 pm

NFL denies James Harrison's suspension appeal

250lbs men running full speed just cant stop themselves on a dime and relocate their heads...
That is strange, because he relocated his head to the downward position immediately before impact. Is his head so large that he can only hold it up for a certain period of time? Harrison is just misunderstood.

Since: Jun 29, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 2:55 pm

NFL denies James Harrison's suspension appeal

Lanceito44, you make some good points, but I don't ever remember coaches telling me to hit the tackling sled with my head, it was always my shoulder. James Harrison became the defensive player of the year because he is elusive, quick, makes sure tackles (without his head), hits hard, plugs the hole, etc. He is a very good player - no one can deny that. He also tries to injure players. Review the McCoy tape again. As he approaches McCoy he drops his head and brings the top of the helmet up and right into McCoy's head while pushing (not tackling) him away. He could have hit him in the chest, slapped at the ball, or just tackled him around the waist. He had options. There will be intances with helmet to helmet contact when a runner lowers his head to get added yardage. In such cases the defensive player will have little or no time to adjust. That will never end. In this particular instance you can't deny what Harrison was trying to do. I am sad to hear you think this rule change is for scoring and not the protection of the players. That's your right. I and others just happen to disagree.

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