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James Harrison decision could come as soon as today

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On Wednesday, former NFL assistant coach (and UFL head coach) Ted Cottrell conducted the hearing on Steelers linebacker James Harrison’s appeal of his one-game suspension for the latest violation of the league’s rules regarding hits on defenseless players.  Since the recent ruling on Ndamukong Suh’s appeal came a day after the hearing held by Hall of Famer and former head coach Art Shell, will the Harrison decision come today?

“Maybe today,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT by email.  “Maybe not.  We’re on Ted Cottrell’s timetable.”

The Steelers begin practicing in earnest today for Monday night’s game against the 49ers.  Harrison remains banished from the team until the suspension is overturned — or until it ends.

Meanwhile, the fact that Cottrell played linebacker in the NFL and coached defense in various cities could make him more sympathetic to Harrison’s case than Shell, a former offensive lineman, was to the guy who was suspended two games for stomping on (wait for it) an offensive lineman.  The current linebacker surely argued to the former linebacker that the movement of Browns quarterback Colt McCoy toward the line of scrimmage, with ball tucked in his arm, led Harrison to believe McCoy was a runner.

Though that doesn’t change the fact that Harrison’s hit was illegal and merits punishment, given that a quarterback who throws on the run still cannot be struck in the head or facem it could cause Cottrell to conclude that the NFL’s system of progressive discipline requires something less severe than a suspension at this time.  For example, Cottrell could decide to simply fine Harrison a game check ($73,500), triggering the financial penalty of a suspension without hurting Harrison’s team.

Last year, the league imposed gross fines on Harrison of $125,000.  Via the appeal process, however, the fines were reduced to $57,500.

Thus, despite complaints from guys like Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark, the appeal process hardly is futile.  So don’t be shocked if Cottrell disagrees with the league office that the time has come to make Harrison miss a game.

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43 Responses to “James Harrison decision could come as soon as today”
  1. tellmeaboutitbaby says: Dec 15, 2011 10:39 AM

    When is the hearing on Ray Lewis’ suspension again?

  2. cbass59 says: Dec 15, 2011 10:41 AM

    michigan wolverines suck.

  3. toegoat says: Dec 15, 2011 10:43 AM

    FREE DEE-BO!!!!!!

  4. Tyler says: Dec 15, 2011 10:48 AM

    His suspension should stand. He just cant get it right.

    – Steelers fan

  5. habsman says: Dec 15, 2011 10:50 AM

    The league will look pretty foolish if this is overturned. It was deliberate spear by a repeat offender who stated he wouldn’t change.

    He should be held accountable for his cowardly head hunting. If not, it will be “open season” on defenseless players.

  6. hystoracle says: Dec 15, 2011 10:51 AM

    Until the team starts being hurt for his actions, Nothing is going to change. When his teammates are affected maybe someone steps up and tells him to watch himself. The whole point of the suspension is to get his attention. Fines obviously aren’t getting the message across.

  7. waxthat says: Dec 15, 2011 10:55 AM

    PLAY DAY MAN! We want Steelers at full strength.

  8. sikoix says: Dec 15, 2011 10:56 AM

    I’d imagine being more or less forced to play an entire game for no pay (risking injury) is worse than being told you have to sit out without pay for a week.

  9. ducksouped says: Dec 15, 2011 10:59 AM

    They better not overturn this thing, otherwise, what the hell is the point?

  10. Steeler's Will says: Dec 15, 2011 11:01 AM

    It would be nice, but I don’t expect it to be overturned. No sense in taking a hardline stance on illegal hits and then backpedaling.

  11. flaccodelic says: Dec 15, 2011 11:03 AM

    I find it odd that no one is holding Tomlin in any way accountable for the repeated actions of his player, whereas everyone seems to think Schwartz should be doing a better job of reigning in Suh. Meanwhile, Harrison, Ward and Clark have all publicly insulted the Commish this year related to their fines. Team discipline doesn’t seem to be a concept that applies to the Steelers. Maybe they’re such throwback tough guys that Tomlin is afraid of them, just like everyone else who might dare to criticize them in any way is also totally terrified.

  12. jgrange08 says: Dec 15, 2011 11:07 AM

    The only reason I believe he shouldn’t be suspended is because it is his first personal foul of the season. He took steps to change how he hit people and went almost a full season before this happened.

    I understand “repeat offender”, but if harrison doesn’t have any helmet to helmet hits for 2 seasons and then has one in 2014, will he be suspended because he’s a repeat offender?

    They need a system where something like your first 1 or 2 helmet to helmet/unnecessary roughness flag of the season results in escalating fines, the 3rd gets you one game, and escalates from there. It carries through the playoffs and resets at the end of the season.

  13. ottomanismydog says: Dec 15, 2011 11:11 AM

    I don’t know what’s worse… Goodell’s inconsistency and lack of explanation of the rules. or the fact that Steven A. Smith is on both ESPN and ESPN2 screaming his head off.

  14. daysend564 says: Dec 15, 2011 11:13 AM

    Give him the chair!

  15. tellmeaboutitbaby says: Dec 15, 2011 11:17 AM

    @flaccodelic

    Where are your posts about Ray Lewis & Harbaugh? Ray has the same history of hits and fines – stated after his fine for the Hines Ward hit that he wouldn’t change his style of play? Why isn’t he being suspended? Why aren’t you lobbying for his suspension? Oh yeah, I forgot – you are just a typical Raven’s moron fan who can’t spell consistency let alone live by it….

  16. Land Snark says: Dec 15, 2011 11:26 AM

    This should be good for 100 comments.

    One thing you have to admit is this has been a polarizing event.

    Either you think Harrison was playing the game the way it was supposed to be or you think he’s a dirty player who’s getting what he has coming.

  17. dexterismyhero says: Dec 15, 2011 11:28 AM

    @tellmeaboutitbaby says:Dec 15, 2011 10:39 AM

    When is the hearing on Ray Lewis’ suspension again?
    ==================================
    Quit whining tellmeaboutit you little baby.

  18. siggy00 says: Dec 15, 2011 11:29 AM

    Ray Lewis 4 fines since 2009.

    Haloti Ngata 4 fines on QBs since 2009.

    Remember Rog, they sit after the next one, right?

  19. Land Snark says: Dec 15, 2011 11:32 AM

    @tellmeaboutitbaby

    So you’re telling me that Ray Lewis has speared a quarterback 5 times in the last 3 seasons just like Harrison?

    Prove it. Lewis had a bad hit on Ward, but he was fined for it and didn’t have a reduction like Harrison got last year. Lewis does not have the same history of helmet to helmet hits, especially on quarterbacks.

    Let’s step back into the realm of reality before we call people morons and complain about other teams.

  20. Nevis says: Dec 15, 2011 11:44 AM

    It won’t be overturned. That would make the league look terrible.

    Additionally, Harrison doesn’t regret a thing and won’t change his ways. Why on EARTH would the NFL overturn their decision.

    Such delusion!

  21. klunge says: Dec 15, 2011 11:51 AM

    tellmeaboutitbaby says:
    Dec 15, 2011 11:17 AM
    @flaccodelic

    Where are your posts about Ray Lewis & Harbaugh? Ray has the same history of hits and fines – stated after his fine for the Hines Ward hit that he wouldn’t change his style of play? Why isn’t he being suspended? Why aren’t you lobbying for his suspension? Oh yeah, I forgot – you are just a typical Raven’s moron fan who can’t spell consistency let alone live by it….
    ———————————————

    Not a Ravens fan here…nice attempt to circumvent the issue and point a finger elsewhere. Put both your posts together and the point is actually even more solid: Ravens/Steelers are just “tough” coaches & players, while Lions are dirty and reflect the coaches bad attitude. OK, sure.

    Bottom line, Suh was suspended 2 games for lashing out after being continuously provoked with dirty tactics by Green Bay, and his actions caused no physical harm to the other player. Harrison has been disciplined 7 (SEVEN) times for this same thing and only now gets a 1-game break. Not seeing the equity here.

  22. flaccodelic says: Dec 15, 2011 11:58 AM

    tellmeaboutitbaby says: Dec 15, 2011 11:17 AM

    @flaccodelic

    Where are your posts about Ray Lewis & Harbaugh? Ray has the same history of hits and fines – stated after his fine for the Hines Ward hit that he wouldn’t change his style of play? Why isn’t he being suspended? Why aren’t you lobbying for his suspension? Oh yeah, I forgot – you are just a typical Raven’s moron fan who can’t spell consistency let alone live by it….

    —-

    You think Ray Lewis has “the same history” of hits and fines as James Harrison? You really are living in your own world.
    PS- “Raven’s” should be plural rather than possessive, as long as you want to try to be a intellectual tough guy. The rules of grammar must not apply to the Steelers and their fans just like the rules of football don’t seem to.

  23. kris21054 says: Dec 15, 2011 12:00 PM

    Everybody talking about how this is Harrison’s first fine this year and he cleaned up his game, maybe but maybe not keep in mind he missed 5 games due to his injury. So who knows how many spears would have happened during that time. Steelers are dirty all around even fluffy hair Troy with his spear during the chiefs game that gave him a concussion .

  24. Lonely Libertarian says: Dec 15, 2011 12:02 PM

    Well all I can say is the league was WRONG seven times – that does not make this time right…

    This is not a suspension worth hit – and punishing the team for this one is not fair.

    McCoy WAS running – he did lower his head – Harrison was aiming for his chest and the combination of the throw and McCoy “ducking” let to the inadvertent hit.

    This is game of COLLISIONS – some violent – and played at full speed – GOD-L is determined to take that away!

    I do believe we are a year or so away from some looney lefty proposing a ban on professional football!

    That might not be the end of the world though – just think of how easy it would be to move the teams to Canada, Mexico, Europe and South America – still have it televised and keep the same names – teams in exile!!!

  25. angrycorgi says: Dec 15, 2011 12:03 PM

    I can imagine the appeal reads like this:

    “God-dell,

    You know I hate you and would like to choke you to death in your sleep. If you don’t overturn this suspension, I’m gonna hunt you down, rip out your heart and feed it to you.

    P.S. – I’m not a dirty player and you KNOW it!”

  26. jgrange08 says: Dec 15, 2011 12:15 PM

    Update to what I said before, this is harrison’s first personal foul in 17 games! You can’t tell me he should’ve been suspended when kam chancellor had helmet to helmet hits for 3 consecutive weeks and got nothing but fines.

  27. ajlaw69 says: Dec 15, 2011 12:27 PM

    Chuck Norris has nightmares about James Harrison.

  28. smokeya says: Dec 15, 2011 12:40 PM

    @ jgrange08 – He was fined 1ook+ last year, and the year before. The idiot even said: “I’m gonna keep hitting like im hitting”.

    Regarding the suspension on Lewis.. Check his hit on Dustin Keller, always trying to lead with the shoulder.

  29. smokeya says: Dec 15, 2011 12:47 PM

    @ Lonely Libertarian – A looney lefty? What does politics have to do with Football. I’m a die-hard socialist and i love hard hitting football.. I thought McCarthyism was over?

  30. daysend564 says: Dec 15, 2011 12:50 PM

    Land Snark says:
    Dec 15, 2011 11:26 AM
    This should be good for 100 comments.

    One thing you have to admit is this has been a polarizing event.

    Either you are a Steelers fan or you are not.
    =================================
    FYP

  31. Deb says: Dec 15, 2011 12:51 PM

    @habsman …

    It was a deliberate spear of a defenseless player? He was making a textbook tackle of a running back. According to the rules, a running back is not a defenseless player. His head dipped an inch. We can debate whether that was intentional or the result of bracing into the impact, but he didn’t launch or leave his feet. At most, you could say connecting with the crown of the helmet would deserve a flag and possibly a fine.

    You suspend players for fighting, for stomping another player with their cleats, for spitting in someone’s face, for hitting a ref, for throwing their helmet into the stands. You don’t suspend a player for making a tackle on a nondefenseless runner. This was nothing but grandstanding by a commissioner who’s trying to pretend he’s doing something about post-concussion syndrome when he’s not. And how convenient that all the publicity about James’s suspension has overwhelmed bad press about the Browns letting Colt back into that game.

    Don’t be naive.

  32. alewatcher says: Dec 15, 2011 1:15 PM

    “Upon further review, we make the suspension two games. Feel free to appeal again”.

  33. dickroy says: Dec 15, 2011 1:37 PM

    When did a running back become defenseless? Thats what Little McCoy became when he took off running.

  34. dickroy says: Dec 15, 2011 1:41 PM

    I wonder how hard Ben has to be hit to draw a flag? Even after the play is blown dead.

  35. johntonioholmes says: Dec 15, 2011 1:43 PM

    @Land Snark

    Are you serious? Don’t you remember him launching headfirst into Ocho Cinco as he was trying to come down with a catch.

    He was a defenseless receiver, Lewis launched and led with his helmet, and knocked Ocho’s helmet off.

    Lewis leads with the crown of his helmet ALL OF THE TIME. He just doesn’t knock people out as much as Harrison does. Granted, that’s because he also makes less helmet to helmet contact. But when he does, the offensive player normally walks away.

  36. vegaskid21 says: Dec 15, 2011 2:08 PM

    $73,500 per game!!!! Steelers are getting ripped off…

  37. habsman says: Dec 15, 2011 2:17 PM

    Deb,

    Leading with your head and striking another player in the face with your helmet is not textbook tackling. Anyone who has played or coached will tell you that. Thats why its illegal and always has been illegal. And this is the 5TH time he has done this in the past 18 months. And lets not forget, he had the opportunity to deliver a solid shoulder hit to McCoy’s torso but chose the head instead.

    There are rules against it. He’s been heavily fined and now suspended because of these hits. Yet, he says he will not change the way he plays. So should we change the rules because James doesn’t like them? Or Steeler fans don’t like them? Do you want to see somebody seriously hurt by this guy? He’s lucky its only one game. Next time, and there will be a next time based on his refusal to adapt, he’ll be sitting for much longer.

  38. ravensandtigers says: Dec 15, 2011 2:22 PM

    Even as a Ravens fan I find all the hate comments back and forth between Ravens fans and Steelers fans a little ridiculous. Realistically both cities, teams, fans and orgainzations are pretty similar. I would like to see the Steelers solve this little problem they have going on right now and get back to the classy organization they have been for a long time.

  39. dickroy says: Dec 15, 2011 2:34 PM

    McCoy was not defenseless, he became a running back. James did not launch himself at him. In the game of football helmets are going to hit other helmets, especially in a game that is played with this much speed.

  40. Deb says: Dec 15, 2011 3:29 PM

    @habsman …

    Don’t talk to me about what Steelers fans want. I make the same arguments regardless of the team involved. Do you? No. Most of you guys just flock to the Web to blast Harrison because he’s a Steeler–and yes, because he’s belligerent. I’m not going to defend his behavior. He brings a lot of this scrutiny on himself by running his mouth, and if he keeps it up, I’ll wager he won’t be a Steeler much longer. But James is no more dangerous on a football field than Ray Lewis, who’s been fined almost as much for helmet-to-helmet hits. (And the film shows at least one of James’s fined hits wasn’t helmet to helmet anymore than Fletcher’s hit on Brady was a headshot.)

    The guys most in danger from helmet-to-helmet hits are the guys in the trenches–and the NFL has done zero, zip, nada to improve their safety. The number of concussions hasn’t decreased since Goodell started his fining war. This is just about giving the impression that the NFL is increasing safety when it’s NOT. James isn’t a young guy. He’ll retire soon. And when he does, the NFL will find a new scapegoat because they don’t want to pay the $$$$$ it would take to make substantive changes in the game or the equipment.

  41. erniecohen says: Dec 15, 2011 5:41 PM

    I was amazed to learn that the last time that a player was suspended for something that happened during a play was 25 years ago. 25 years!! And that was for slamming a QB to the turf about 10 minutes after the ball was gone.

    While Harrison’s hit was maybe fineworth, it is nowhere close to being so flagrant as to warrant the first such suspension in 25 years.

  42. franknunley57 says: Dec 16, 2011 8:18 AM

    @dickroy: (perfect)

    McCoy was not defenseless, he became a running back. James did not launch himself at him. In the game of football helmets are going to hit other helmets, especially in a game that is played with this much speed.
    —————————————————-

    Colt was behind the line of scrimmage with his eyes clearly fixed on his receiver. He did not become a running back & Harrison did launch himself,helmet to chin. Stop defending this guy. He had a clear shot to cream Colt without going @ his head,neck & spine. Do you really want to watch back-up qbs play on Sundays?

  43. Deb says: Dec 16, 2011 11:52 AM

    franknunley57 …

    Colt had taken off running and threw that ball practically as he was running into James’s arms. Ben is usually behind the line of scrimmage when he goes into his sandlot routine and defenders are free to clobber him. Ngata didn’t even draw a flag when he broke Ben’s nose. I’d say that was a pretty obvious shot to the head. The fact that Colt was focused on where he was sending the ball isn’t the defender’s responsibility. He’s already lined up for the hit. We’re talking about nanoseconds.

    James can only be faulted for dipping his head into the hit. Wanted to see multiple angles that night so I could get a look at Harrison’s eyes, but the only angle showed him from behind. Was that a premeditated attempt to go at Colt’s facemask with the crown of his helmet, or a reflexive brace for the impact? I don’t know. Based on that, I can understand a flag and even a fine. But not a suspension for an in-game foul. It’s overkill–especially since that was James’s first foul this year. And Goodell only did it to take heat off the Browns for ignoring the concussion protocol. The commish could care less about player safety. He’s all about public perception.

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