NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has already docked Steelers linebacker James Harrison’s pay to the tune of $100,000 this season. But that doesn’t mean Goodell thinks Harrison is a dirty player.
To the contrary, Goodell said today, he thinks Harrison is trying to play within the rules. He just thinks Harrison is having a hard time doing that.
“I think James is an outstanding player, and he wants to play the game within the rules,” Goodell said, per ESPN.com. “He’s certainly a tough football player, and I admire him very much on that level. I think one of the things he’s frustrated by is when the offensive player is moving. And when the offensive player is moving, how do I, as a defensive player, adjust?”
And therein lies the problem: Harrison might want to obey the league’s rules on permissible contact with opponents, but if he doesn’t know how to play within the rules, he’s going to keep breaking them. And Goodell is going to keep fining him, even if he believes Harrison wants to play within the rules.