Steelers linebacker James Harrison appealed his one-game suspension to a former NFL linebacker and defensive coordinator, Ted Cottrell.
But even though Cottrell, like Art Shell, is jointly appointed and paid by the league and the NFLPA, Cottrell agreed with the decision that the time has come to suspend Harrison for a game. As a result, he won’t play Monday night against the 49ers.
The outcome isn’t about whether the hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy merits a suspension standing alone. It’s an issue of progressive discipline. Based on his history of fines and the apparent unwillingness to change his behavior, the time had come to increase the punishment in the hopes of sending the message.
Former NFL safety Rodney Harrison has said on NBC’s Football Night In America that, while fines had no effect on his play, a suspension got his attention. Based on comments made by and attributed to James Harrison, a one-game suspension may not do the trick for him. This means that, if James Harrison continues to apply illegal hits, the next punishment will be a multi-game suspension. And even more games beyond that.
Steelers linebacker James Farrior said Thursday that James Harrison and other players need to change their way of playing. Time will tell whether James Harrison agrees.