Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Updated: November 12, 11:28 AM ET
Source: Harris won't be suspended
By Mike Sando
The punch Tommie Harris threw Sunday during the Chicago Bears' 41-21 defeat to the Arizona Cardinals will not prevent the defensive tackle from playing Thursday night.
The NFL might fine Harris, but there will be no suspension for punching Cardinals guard Deuce Lutui in the helmet, according to a league source. The NFL generally does not confirm fine-related information before Friday.
Referee Ed Hochuli ejected Harris from the game after the incident. Because the ejection occurred only four plays into the game, Harris effectively missed one game. The incident's timing could have played into the league's decision against a suspension.
Harris and Lutui skirmished two plays earlier. Lutui had knocked down Harris during the earlier play. When Harris went to get up, Lutui decked him again. The hits appeared legal and officials threw no flags.
Lutui was on the ground one play later when Harris reached down and delivered a punch that appeared to strike Lutui's helmet high on the facemask.
"It didn't hurt," Lutui said after the game. "It happened so fast. It was nothing serious. I just know the refs caught it. Things like that happen."
Harris later apologized in comments published on ESPNChicago.com.
"I was embarrassed, especially for my actions," Harris said. "I apologized to him [Sunday], [and] I called Larry [Fitzgerald] and had a chance to apologize to him. I just want to apologize to my fans first off, and the little kids out there that saw that action. I shouldn't behave in the manner. I apologize to my teammates, and I'll make up for it."
The Bears visit the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night.
Mike Sando covers the NFC West for ESPN.com.