Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC North [Print without images]

Monday, November 9, 2009
Is a public apology enough for Harris?

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert

Make sure you check out the apology of Chicago defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who was ejected from Sunday’s 41-21 loss to Arizona for punching Cardinals guard Deuce Lutui. ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson has a full report here.

Harris indicated Lutui had provoked him but would not provide details. Regardless, Harris said, he was “embarrassed” by his action and vowed to make up for it in the second half of the season.

It was important for Harris to apologize publicly, but I think it would be worth his time to express the same regrets privately to his teammates. His departure left the Bears a man short on the defensive line against a high-powered offense, and judging from several players’ reactions Sunday, his absence was begrudged.

Coach Lovie Smith said Sunday that he would follow the NFL’s lead in terms of discipline. At the very least, Harris will receive a stiff fine. But Smith should also consider whether Harris deserves to start Thursday night at San Francisco. I’m not sure whether Harris would care if he is benched, but I’m sure at least some of his teammates would appreciate the accountability.

What do you think? Should Harris have to re-claim his starting job? Or is an apology and a league-mandated fine enough?