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Harrison to retire after getting hit with massive fine?


Mike Tomlin is going to have to find a way to convince LB James Harrison that the $75,000 fine he got Tuesday is nothing more than a bump in the road.

Otherwise – Harrison may retire.

“I’m going to sit down and have a serious conversation with my coach tomorrow and see if I can actually play by NFL rules and still be effective,” Harrison said. “If not, I may have to give up playing football.”

Harrison, obviously upset over the fine and the way he is being portrayed in the media, has already stated that he felt that he should not be fined for either of the hits against Cleveland, and he is not sure anymore of what is legal and what is not.

Tomlin backed Harrison Tuesday before the $75,000 fine was announced, saying the linebacker made “legal hits, not fineable hits.” He also downplayed Harrison’s postgame comments that he tries to hurt, not injure, opponents because it increases the Steelers’ chances of winning.

“I didn’t see those comments, but I know James,” Tomlin said. “James says a lot of things he doesn’t necessarily mean. He’s a tough talker, like a lot of guys that play the game at this level. If you want to get to know James, catch him on a Tuesday when he’s walking through the building with his son. He’s a big softie.”

So would Harrison actually leave the game? Probably not, but the league is going to have a firestorm on their hands if they keep handing out fines right and left for hits, then putting out DVD’s of big hits and selling photos of big hits on their store website.

“I really truly hope it’s something that can be done,” Harrison told Fox Sports Radio. “But the way that things were being explained to me today and the reasoning for it, I don’t feel I can continue to play and be effective and, like I say, not have to worry about injuring someone else or risking injury to myself.”

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. mark

    October 20, 2010 at 6:04 am

    He isnt going to retire, but no doubt he will appeal and use the photo that the league is shopping around as evidence that it wasnt flagged, is being lauded by the league as a “Big Hit” and he should not be fined! Is every play in a game being reviewed? Imagine, maybe they can start throwing flags on Tuesdays and make the players come back on the field and do it again? Sure, Im sarcastic, but the league entrusts its officials to make calls. How about reviewing the “missed” holding calls weekly on Harrison? How about being more definitive on what a catch is (Lions week 1)? How about all the pass interference “judgement” calls that are made? How about “making” players cut there hair so its not considered detrimental to a players health during a game? The league and GOD-dell are so hipocritical it makes me sick. Im sure fining a multi-millionaire like Harrison is like me losing $5 in the laundry. Yeah, that’ll show him. The league needs clear rules. It does not have them in most cases. Like everyone knows, if you lead with your shoulder, you are bound to have helmet contact. Whether you or your opponent initiate it (by ducking?).

  2. jay

    October 20, 2010 at 6:11 am

    I just wanna know one thing: is the nfl trying to push its fanbase away and maybe attract , I dunno, a new fanbase by raiding and/or appealing to sewing circles and wimps!?! Seriously, we need to throw up the bat signal here and get Dr. george to weigh in on this one…my troglodyte antics are only taking so seriously!

  3. The Tony

    October 20, 2010 at 7:31 am

    I didn’t know that we were watching soccer?

  4. A Browns Fan

    October 20, 2010 at 7:52 am

    They were legal hits, they were brutal hits, I applaud him for the hitting. I don’t applaud him for the comments of hurting other players increases their chance of winning (did he really say that?).

  5. DJ SCUT

    October 20, 2010 at 8:41 am

    LISTEN GUYS, I MORE THAN MOST, CAN UNDERSTAND THE NEED TO PROTECT PLAYERS FOR IF NOTHING OTHER THAN THEIR OWN FUTURE WELL BEING. HEALTH AFTER FOOTBALL SHOULD BE THE #1 PRIORITY. BUT, WITH ME BEING A DEFENSIVE PLAYER 99% OF MY TIME ON THE FIELD, I CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT HARRISON SAID. YOU ACTUALL WANT TO KNOCK THE HELL OUT OF THE OPPOSITION. IT’S INTIMIDATION, IT’S A WARNING, IT’S A STATEMENT. THIS IS MY FIELD AND YOU WILL NOT CATCH OR RUN AND DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT SCORING ON MY FIELD. NOW, IF YOU HAVE EVER PLAYED DEFENSE AND DIDN’T FEEL THAT WAY OR DIDN’T AT LEAST THINK IT…. THEN YOU DIDN’T PLAY FOOTBALL.

    STOP THE HYPOCRISSY(AND I SPELLED IT THAT WAY ON PURPOSE). IT’S A GAME THAT IS MEANT FOR THE “GLADIATOR” TYPE AND NOT THE SUIT AND TIE WEARING ACCOUNTANT THAT LOVES HIS PINK SOCKS AND MATCHING UNDERWEAR.

    C’MON MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. DrGeorge

    October 20, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    James Harrison has every right to be angry and confused by the ruling of the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, who last played football in high school. The NFL has an big image problem; it profits from sex and violence. Ersatz sex in the form of scantily attired cheerleaders, and real violence in the form of brain-rattling hits. It sells them not only in its NFL shop, like the photo of the recent hit that cost Harrison a $75,000 fine, but they are present in every NFL promotional film. The public is willing to pay for both, and the NFL supplies both. Goodell just doesn’t like critics to call attention to it, or for players to make it too obvious. Brett Favre and Ben Rothlisberger have already dealt with the league’s hypocrisy regarding overt sex. Now Harrison is testing the limits of the league’s hypocrisy regarding violence.

    The Harrison fine illustrates the point perfectly. Harrison is so strong and so fast that NFL linemen hold him on every play. The holding is rarely called. No wonder the guy is frustrated. Then when he gets a chance to make a tackle — the thing he is paid to do — he is criticized for being too violent. How hypocritical is that?

    Harrison and his defensive colleagues play the game exactly as they were taught to play it — rough. Football is a violent sport, a collision sport. To pretend otherwise ignores reality. Clearly, Goodell was motivated by the spate of recent concussions and the risk of serious injury. Good motives all. But for the NFL to single out a few players for being too violent is beyond hypocritical; it is nonsense. At the speed NFL players perform, it simply isn’t possible to avoid helmet to helmet contact and concussions. How is any NFL defensive player to know how rough is too rough? How can a defender play the game effectively, when every tackle is subject to highly subjective examination of the quotient of roughness after the fact and the tackler himself risks serious injury if he plays too soft? The ruling places defensive players in an untenable bind.

    If the NFL truly wants to reduce head and other injuries, they have many options. Goodell could eliminate tackling altogether and play flag football. Or he could promulgate a player weight limit so 185# receivers aren’t being bludgeoned by 260# linebackers and 330# defensive ends. Or he could ban all pads and helmets and play rugby. Of course, it wouldn’t be American football any more, and it wouldn’t sell as well. But it would be much safer. For the NFL to fine players for violent hits without first taking reasonable steps to reduce the force of collisions is hypocritical.

    Harrison had the temerity and candor to tell reporters, before the fine was assessed, that he plays football with the intent of hurting opponents. Not to end their careers or put them out of the game, but to hurt them and impress his will on them. That is exactly what the game of football requires. The timing of his statement was horrible, of course. Goodell doesn’t want players to state the truth so baldly and publicly. It’s bad for the league’s image. Goodell wants the public to believe the pro game is a gentleman’s scuffle. In effect, he has institutionalized the league’s hypocrisy.

    The sports of boxing and auto racing have faced similar objections. In boxing, a violent blow can kill an opponent. There has been talk of making boxing safer (more sporting) by requiring bigger gloves and headgear, as in Olympic boxing. The pros haven’t adopted that sensible alternative because it won’t sell nearly as well. In auto racing, reduced speeds and smaller engines would be infinitely safer, but wrecks and fiery crashes are part of that sport. So nothing is done there either. As in football, there is hypocrisy in those sports too for the sake of entertainment and money.

    In football, boxing, and in NASCAR, death, paralysis, and serious injury are risks of the sport. They are risks assumed by the participants in exchange for an inordinately large paycheck. Without the risk, fans won’t watch and pay for it. In short, these are in a very real sense ‘blood sports’ in which fans pay for the thrill of watching men assume serious physical risks — just as Romans paid to watch gladiators fight to the death in the Coliseum. We are a mite less bloodthirsty these days, but the risk remains part of the entertainment. For Goodell to pretend otherwise while doing nothing to change the fact is the greatest hypocrisy of all.

    So football fans now share Harrison’s dilemma: quit playing (or watching) football or perpetuate the hypocrisy. The NFL does indeed have an image problem, and Goodell’s handling of Harrison’s hit has done nothing to make the game or the NFL’s image better.

    The choice for the NFL is clear: Don’t fine the players for playing the game too rough — if you are really serious about safety, modify the game.

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