After days of speculation, the NFL suspended Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison for one game without pay as a result of his helmet-to-helmet collision with Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy last Thursday night.
Some had anticipated that one of the most heavily fined players in the NFL over the past few seasons could have been facing a much longer ban. This is his fifth illegal hit on quarterbacks in the last three seasons and he has also been fined two other times for unnecessary roughness on players not playing quarterback.
So the NFL seemed lenient after what was clearly a vicious hit on the Browns quarterback. Still, Harrison’s agent said they plan to appeal the decision. (Though Harrison has racked up the fines, he still doesn't have as a bad a rep as Ndamukong Suh, who is considered one of the dirtiest players on the gridiron.)
In addition to missing a $73,539 paycheck and not playing Monday against the San Francisco 49ers, he also won’t be allowed to practice with his team or be around the team facilities this week per suspension rules.
Harrison can return to his team Dec. 20.
"We're disappointed for James because we know how hard he's worked to play within the rules," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "We accept the judgment rendered by the league office and we'll move forward."
Harrison sent mixed messages Tuesday after his suspension was handed down. First he tweeted LOL!!! and an hour later returned to thank his fans: "Thank you to all my fans and supporters, I'm just going to move on from here and get ready for my next game."
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(Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)