As the football-following world waits for the NFL to inform Steelers linebacker James Harrison of the sanction for his helmet-to-face hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, Harrison doesn’t believe he should be suspended.
Undermining Harrison’s position is that he also believes he shouldn’t be fined.
“I don’t think a suspension is worthy,” Harrison said Monday, per the Associated Press. “I don’t think it’s worthy of anything, but that’s just my own personal thoughts.”
Harrison believes that the play should result in no punishment because McCoy was running with the ball before Harrison put the crown of his helmet into McCoy’s jaw. “Well, he took off running with it, and at the last second he, like, chucked and ducked,” Harrison said. “So, people can see it.”
Yes, they can see it. And what they can see is a defensive player hitting a quarterback in the head after the quarterback has thrown the ball. (Besides, McCoy didn’t “chuck and duck.” If he had, McCoy possibly wouldn’t have been knocked “out and cold.”)
On Friday, the league explained the rules that resulted in Harrison being flagged for roughing the passer, specifically pointing out that a quarterback who throws on the run — which McCoy did — remains protected against blows to the head.
The fact that the NFL hasn’t acknowledged that the officials erred in penalizing Harrison implies that the league will take some action against Harrison. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that there’s a sense in Pittsburgh and throughout the league that Harrison will be suspended for a game.
Given that Harrison suggested after being fined $75,000 last year that he would retire because he doesn’t understand the rules, a suspension at a time when Harrison doesn’t thing he should even be fined could push him to the point of no return.