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Sunday, December 11, 2011
NFL considering suspension for Harrison

By Jamison Hensley

The NFL would send a strong message to players on helmet-to-helmet hits if league officials decide to suspend Steelers linebacker James Harrison.

Harrison
Harrison
A league source told ESPN's Adam Schefter that the NFL is considering a one- or two-game ban for Harrison after he knocked out Browns quarterback Colt McCoy out of the game with a shot to the head. At the very least, he is expected to receive a hefty fine (possibly six figures) for his latest controversial hit.

If the NFL wants to take a stand, it should do so against Harrison, who has been the biggest repeat offender on helmet-to-helmet hits. He was fined $125,000 last season for his illegal hits. So, another big fine wouldn't make much of a statement.

Harrison would be the first player suspended under the NFL's enhanced enforcement on player safety violations.

What could save Harrison from a suspension is his shot on McCoy isn't as clear cut as his ones in the past. Harrison hit McCoy after the quarterback had scrambled near the line of scrimmage, which has led some to say McCoy was acting as a runner (helmet-to-helmet hits are allowed on ball carriers). But McCoy flipped the ball right before taking the shot, which still made him a passer (helmet-to-helmet hits aren't permitted on passers).