AFC North: fined

Lost in the hoopla of James Harrison's recent bashing of various NFL players, teammates and the commissioner was how close the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker actually came to retirement last season.

In October Harrison contemplated quitting during the middle of the season after being fined $75,000 for a big hit on Cleveland Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. Most observers, and even the Steelers, took the approach that Harrison was just being emotional.

But in his interview with Men's Journal, Harrison explains how serious he was at the time about quitting football.

"I lost it completely," Harrison explained of his reaction after getting fined. "[I] said, '[expletive] y'all, I quit if you're gonna fine me that for a legal hit.' Spoke to my player rep and my agent, said, 'That's it, I'm done. What papers do I have to sign to retire today?

"And if my agent hadn't have said, 'You'll have to pay back six mill,' I'd've been out the game and not looked back."

Harrison's retirement talk lasted just one day, and he later helped lead Pittsburgh to its second Super Bowl appearance in three seasons. With the league's increased attention on big hits, Harrison could be a prime target for fines once again this season. His disparaging remarks towards NFL commissioner Roger Goodell certainly don't help Harrison keep a low profile.

Obviously Harrison doesn't like money taken out of his pocket. Who does? But what will Harrison's reaction be this season if he's once again among the most fined players in the NFL?
Chad Ochocinco might be the Twitter champion among NFL players when it comes to followers and frequency of his tweets. But if the Cincinnati Bengals receiver doesn't slow down on the latter, it could cost him a lot of money this season.

Ochocinco was fined $25,000 by the league for two violations in Cincinnati's preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He was fined for "possession of an electronic device" and "posting on a social media site" at the inappropriate time.

"Two messages appeared on Ochocinco's Twitter page during the prohibited period for players to be using social media, which begins 90 minutes prior to kickoff until postgame media obligations are fulfilled," the NFL's statement read. "One Ochocinco message appeared at 6:50 p.m. ET and the second at 9:53 p.m. ET. The game kicked off at 8:07 p.m. ET."

The league's minute-by-minute detailing of Ochocinco's tweets should be a message to players. The NFL is very protective of its image and, therefore, closely monitoring social media sites.

Several AFC North players have been in hot water over controversial tweets. Cleveland Browns defensive backs Brandon McDonald recently sent a profanity-laced tweet toward Bengals receiver Terrell Owens that made headlines. Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden also revealed internal business by tweeting that a teammate was fined during a team meeting.