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Video: Chris Collinsworth on James Harrison

The NFL suspended linebacker James Harrison for one game for his hit on Colt McCoy. NFL analyst Chris Collinsworth shares his opinion with Tim Brando on whether the suspension was justified or not.

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.



  1. Ava Gibbons

    December 14, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    While I see your point about McCoy being out of the pocket Cris, it was pretty obvious that Harrison’s helmet hit McCoy’s point blank range. Harrison has been pretty good this year after getting flagged and fined so much last season. QB or not, the helmet to helmet was clear, not to mention the fact that McCoy was ‘out of it’ laying on the field. These continued hits to any head are extremely dangerous and life altering/threatening. It just has to stop. There’s an entire mid section of body to aim for + arms, legs. Sure it will hurt, but the damage is not likely to be catastrophic. Stay off the head hits period. NHL is now considering suspensions of up to 50 games (obviously not feasible to NFL schedule) and Sidney Crosby (who just returned last week) is out again. He’s a very talented young man who’s career will most likely be ended long before it should be. Gotta protect the head-you only have one.

    • Carl

      December 14, 2011 at 8:38 pm

      Ok for those of you who don’t understand I’ll type slow. Helmet to helmet hits on runners doesn’t exist. Which is why Gocong’s blatant and vicious helmet to helmet hit’s on Mendenhall were ignored. Just be honest and admit it just depends on the player if Ray Lewis had done this no flag and no suspension although he does it multiple times per year. Or how about the Reed who launched into the 49er receiver and hit him helmet to helmet to break up a pass no flag and no suspension. Tomlin and Rooney after meeting with Goodell and his boy toys have lost what little integrety they had especially with Tomlim backing the suspension. Harrison should ask to be traded to a team that sticks by a player when it’s obvious the player is a target otherwise players like Lewis and Reed would have already been suspended.

  2. DrGeorge

    December 14, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    As I understand it, the suspension from the league office is for the helmet-to helmet contact, after McCoy had turned himself into a runner (RBs are not afforded protection under this rule). Collinsworth thinks the NFL is wrong in suspending Harrison, and so do I, as I wrote yesterday, although I do believe his hit on McCoy was late. (Please note that Tomlin did not defend Harrison’s hit this time.)

    Notwithstanding all that, the NFL’s enforcement of this rule is highly arbitrary, both on the field and afterward in Goodell’s office with the benefit of video tape and slow motion. Reasonable minds can and do differ on whether a particular hit (Harrison’s in this case) violates the rules. Collinsworth is not the only former NFL player who finds enforcement of this rule perplexing. It remains a widely held perception that this rule is being applied more stringently against some teams (including the Steelers) than other teams and that some players are being singled out simply for hitting too hard (Harrison among them). That perceived unfairness is not good for the game. As Ava Gibbons says above, protecting players from brain damage in a collision sport is a laudable objective. But this half-measure rule is not the way to do it.

    A rule that simply disallowed helmet-to-helmet hits, as Ava suggests, would be less controversial and easier to enforce. But as noted here in the past, that really isn’t workable. Running backs by the very nature of their posture (bent over, protecting the ball) often initiate such contact themselves. Even now, after receivers catch the ball, they become running backs in effect and are not longer protected against helmet-to-helmet hits (although exactly when a receiver becomes a runner is also subject to widely varying interpretations). All defensive players risk hits to the helmet every time they make a tackle, and O-linemen in this game are no strangers to concussions either. My point is that the present rule only protects a small percentage of players, the high profile players that affect ratings and gate receipts. The hypocrisy in that is self-evident. If the NFL is really serious about player safety, it must find a better means of protecting all players from concussion, including those who do not carry the ball. And the rule must apply equitably to all.

  3. Carl

    December 14, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    The commisioner is covering his behind along with Clevelands because the real question is they lied about testing him about a concussion and put him back on the field when he obviously should not have been allowed back on the field.

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