Sunday, December 11, 2011
NFL mulls ban for James Harrison
By Adam Schefter
The NFL is considering suspending Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison one or two games for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, according to an NFL source.
The debate about whether Harrison will be suspended will continue at NFL offices Monday morning. But at the very least, he will be hit with a hefty fine for his latest controversial hit.
Harrison would be the first player suspended under the NFL's enhanced enforcement on player safety violations.
At a fan forum in Detroit before the Lions' game against the Vikings, commissioner Roger Goodell didn't comment much when asked about Harrison.
"Our staff is going to be looking at that play along with every other play that happens this weekend, and they'll make their decisions," Goodell said.
Ndamukong Suh became the first player suspended for on-field play earlier this season, and the league is strongly considering doling out its second suspension in two weeks.
Harrison was fined $125,000 for illegal hits last season. He maintained his innocence for Thursday's hit.
"From what I understand, once the quarterback leaves the pocket, he's considered a runner," Harrison said. "All the defenseless(ness) and liberties that a quarterback has in the pocket are gone and you can tackle him just as he's a running back. The hit wasn't late, so I really don't understand why it was called."
However, McCoy had thrown the ball before the hit, so the quarterback was considered a defenseless player.
Adam Schefter is ESPN's NFL Insider. Information from ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley and The Associated Press contributed to this report.