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Old 12-14-2011, 12:25 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' Tomlin backs Harrison suspension

Steelers' Tomlin backs Harrison suspension

By Ralph N. Paulk
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Steelers linebacker James Harrison appealed a one-game suspension the NFL handed down Tuesday, but his case took a hit when coach Mike Tomlin endorsed the punishment.

"He hit him illegally," Tomlin said of Harrison's helmet-to-helmet hit on Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy during Thursday's game at Heinz Field. "He has to suffer the consequences."

Harrison will not travel to San Francisco, where the Steelers (10-3) face the NFC West-leading 49ers (10-3) on Monday night with an opportunity to inch closer to an AFC playoff berth.

Harrison and his agent, Bill Parise, filed an appeal with the league shortly after it announced the suspension. The league is likely to rule on the appeal later this week, an NFL spokesperson said. If it does not, Harrison could play Monday.

"We have appealed, and we're going to go through the process," Parise said.

Harrison, who was fined four times last season, will forfeit nearly $75,000 with the suspension.

"I'm just going to move on from here and get ready for my next game," he posted on Twitter.

McCoy, who was diagnosed with a concussion Friday, scrambled and looked to pass with 5:59 remaining in the game and the Browns trailing, 7-3, when Harrison leveled him. The hit sidelined McCoy for two plays.

Tomlin said McCoy had taken off running a couple of times in similar situations, but he stopped short of excusing the hit.

"It's a foul," Tomlin said emphatically. "The quarterback just released the pass and is defenseless.

"Based on the guidelines the league has prescribed, he's a repeat offender. We have to suffer the consequences accordingly."

Harrison becomes the first player to be suspended under the league's enhanced player-safety rules that the NFL Players Association consented to under the new collective bargaining agreement. The agreement empowered commissioner Roger Goodell to fine or suspend players for helmet-to-helmet contact.

"I'm like just, take the shoulders pad and helmets off of us and let's call it NFFL: the National Flag Football League. That's where you're going right now," cornerback Ike Taylor told TribLIVE Radio on Tuesday. "People making these decisions about where we can't hit, show me what kind of football they played."

Harrison, who earlier this season missed four games because of an eye injury, is banned from participating in football-related activities at the Steelers' practice complex until the suspension is lifted Tuesday.

With the suspension looming, the Steelers could play San Francisco without several key starters, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (high-ankle sprain) and strong safety Troy Polamalu (hamstring), both of whom are listed as questionable.

Linebacker Jason Worilds is likely to make his fourth start this season at outside linebacker.

"We are disappointed, and we're disappointed for James because we know, quite frankly, how hard he's worked to play within the rules," Tomlin said. "Unfortunately, the incident happened, and it was a penalty. He has to be accountable for that."

Harrison's suspension comes almost four weeks since Tomlin and team president Art Rooney II met with Goodell to discuss the number of fines levied against the Steelers this season and what constitutes an illegal hit.

The Steelers have had 11 players fined or suspended this season. This is the first such incident for Harrison this season. Safeties Ryan Clark and Polamalu have been fined twice, including Clark's $40,000 fine for a late hit on Baltimore tight end Ed Dickson.

Ralph N. Paulk can be reached at rpaulk@tribweb.com or 412-320-7923 .

Read more: Steelers' Tomlin backs Harrison suspension - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbur...#ixzz1gUISDCYr
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' Tomlin backs Harrison suspension

Well, PC or not, Tomlin is doing the only thing he can do at this point.

If James was suspended for the rest of the season, then I think Tomlin would fight that.
But for just a one game suspension, he's got too much other stuff to worry about to be getting involved with fighting the league over it. Realistically, by the time it ever got to the point where he'd actually be in a position to meet with the league and make his case, it would be next week already, James would be back, so what would be the point?

As far as the hit itself goes, even I have said that it was borderline and judging by the overall opinions I've heard on TV and read about online, I'd say that most people think it was either just at the threshold of legal or beyond it. If the hit was clearly legal, I think Tomlin would fight it but being the borderline hit that it was, by the time he makes all of the relevant arguments, again it's next week already.

I think that Tomlin probably agrees that James was singled out and that he could argue that the hit was legal and from a practicality point of view, it's not worth fighting it.
But I don't believe for a minute that Tomlin is "siding" with anyone and I don't believe he's throwing anyone under the bus.

He's simply being realistic.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:23 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers' Tomlin backs Harrison suspension

I was pretty pissed about this yesterday. I talked to a more level headed Steeler fan yesterday that made some good points...

The magazine interview during the lockout

After he hit McCoy he says it was a "legal hit" (i think Goodell doesn't want any players to criticize)

I think its over for Harrison. The coach pretty much put him out there and I think its in the best interest of the players to stay silent. The Bargaining agreement is what it is and bitching about it won't change anything. I hope Woodley can play Monday night.
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers' Tomlin backs Harrison suspension

I think it's a sad situation for James but I do believe that his overall outlook and the way he sees himself has a lot to do with why he finds himself in these situations.

I see Harrison as a guy who definitely has a chip on his shoulder and who sees himself as a sort of perpetual underdog. His way of dealing with it is to be aggressive and to develop a reputation as being someone to fear.

This of course has its advantages but it also puts him in a position of having to prove that all the time and he does so by pushing things to the limit. It think he is actually the kind of guy who would set up a practice dummy with a numbered jersey on it as well as a helmet and then practice hitting that dummy as high up on the numbers as possible without clipping the facemask or the helmet.

I also think he knows the rules better than anyone; not because he wants to know how to be a model citizen, but rather to know just how far he can go before he crosses the line.

Living on the edge like that may have advantages in terms of technique or effectiveness as a defender, but it also brings him very close to situations like the one with McCoy. Let's face it, when you push things to their limits, you're bound to run into trouble and he often has done just that. I think he recognizes that and I think he's OK with it - it's the way he likes to play. I also think he's smart enough to know that he will occasionally cross the line and frankly, I think he sees it more as a game of "Chicken" than anything else and I think he actually enjoys testing the limits.

I don't have a problem with any of that but the league obviously does and their idea of limits is not the same as James' and I think James knows that and accepts that. He just has more fun pushing those limits than he would living by them and that's the way he likes it. If he didn't do it that way, he wouldn't be the player he is.

In many ways James is a throwback and probably would have loved to have played alongside Lambert and Ham and I would have loved to see that too. But I don't see him as a dirty player or as someone whose intention is to cause injury. I just see him as a competitor who does whatever he feels he has to do to win and spends a lot of time walking a tightrope to do that. Unfortunately that approach will always cause problems for him.

But speaking as a fan, I wouldn't want him to change a thing or to do it any other way!
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers' Tomlin backs Harrison suspension

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I see Harrison as a guy who definitely has a chip on his shoulder and who sees himself as a sort of perpetual underdog. His way of dealing with it is to be aggressive and to develop a reputation as being someone to fear.

This of course has its advantages but it also puts him in a position of having to prove that all the time and he does so by pushing things to the limit. It think he is actually the kind of guy who would set up a practice dummy with a numbered jersey on it as well as a helmet and then practice hitting that dummy as high up on the numbers as possible without clipping the facemask or the helmet.
Plenty of players, and particularly linebackers, are big on intimidation, and many also push the envelope as far as the rules are concerned. Take Suggs and Lewis as two examples just from our division. It's the nature of the position. Yet I don't see them getting singled out in the media and branded as cheap shot artists for it. That's what pisses me off. In Goodell's NFL, the media are the judge and jury and he's the executioner. It shouldn't be that way. That's the problem I have with it.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:30 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers' Tomlin backs Harrison suspension

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Plenty of players, and particularly linebackers, are big on intimidation, and many also push the envelope as far as the rules are concerned. Take Suggs and Lewis as two examples just from our division. It's the nature of the position. Yet I don't see them getting singled out in the media and branded as cheap shot artists for it. That's what pisses me off. In Goodell's NFL, the media are the judge and jury and he's the executioner. It shouldn't be that way. That's the problem I have with it.
I agree with you.

It's just that in any group of people there will always be one person who gets everyone's attention - good or bad. In this case, for whatever reason, Harrison happens to be that person.

You know, we see what we see, but we're not on the field and we don't hear what's said between players, we don't know what's said to the refs and so on. It could very well be that James makes a point of saying things that people (refs) remember negatively and they tend to look harder at him.

Look at Ray Ray. Whenever I see him talking to refs, he's always smiling, maybe he jokes with them or whatever but he's schmoozing them and he knows that goes a long way.

Maybe James either doesn't say anything or if he does, it's in the form of criticism or attitude and like any other human being, they respond more positively to schmoozing than to someone pissing and moaning about one thing or another

With refs - just as it is with anyone in authority - honey works better than vinegar.
You talk yourself out of a speeding ticket by being the nice guy and it's the "I pay your salary" guy that always ends up in court.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers' Tomlin backs Harrison suspension

tomlin is just doing damage control right now. we got business to handle on monday
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers' Tomlin backs Harrison suspension

Uncle Tomlin caves once again to Massa GODell.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers' Tomlin backs Harrison suspension

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Uncle Tomlin caves once again to Massa GODell.
And exactly WTF was he supposed to do?
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers' Tomlin backs Harrison suspension

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Uncle Tomlin caves once again to Massa GODell.

Moron.
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