Fresh of the news this morning that his appeal of his one game suspension was denied, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison told ESPN reporter Josina Anderson in a phone conversation, “Oh well. It is what it is. That\’s the decision I was expecting anyways. I\’ll deal with it and move on.” Harrison also tweeted immediately after the news was announced, “When the grass is low the snakes will show! I guess I cut it too short! I shouldn\’t be cutting grass when it\’s this cold anyway. I\’m done with this yard work stuff, time to go workout!” One could interrupt that this was a nicely veiled shot at the league. Harrison later added via Twitter, “17 games,1000+ snaps, 100+ tackles, 12+sacks and 2 forces fumbles since my last incident and I get a suspension for a football play! Ok now I\’m done!”
Harrison was suspended one game and a game paycheck for his fourth quarter helmet-to-helmet hit last Thursday night on Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy. On the play, McCoy was running with the ball outside the pocket on the play and threw the football at the last moment with Harrison closing in quickly on him. Harrison hit McCoy in the facemask with the crown of his helmet on the play and the hit knocked McCoy off his feet as a result. McCoy\’s head slammed to to the field as a result of the hit and was forced to miss the next few plays as a result.
Harrison had contested that McCoy was no different than a running back as he had the ball tucked under his arm and was approaching the line of scrimmage outside of the pocket, but Ted Cottrell, the appointed official to hear the appeal of Harrison, saw it differently. Anderson reports that the Cottrell denial stated, “It is clear from the video that you squared up and led with the crown of your helmet when you contacted Colt McCoy. This is precisely the technique that you must avoid using as a defender. I have determined that your actions were particularly egregious and warranted the discipline imposed by Ray Anderson.”
The Steelers will face the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night in week 15 at Candlestick Park, but will now do so without the services of Harrison at right outside linebacker.