James Harrison is nothing if not exact. On the field and off.
Though he did not address the media on Friday, after the NFL denied his appeal of a one-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy, the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker did respond on his Twitter page.
“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!”
Indeed he did, and as a result, Harrison will sit out Monday night’s game against San Francisco.
The ruling was made by NFL-NFLPA on-field appeals officer Ted Cottrell after a review of the hit that drew the original suspension Tuesday. McCoy, who returned during the Steelers’ win over the Browns on Dec. 8, suffered a concussion and has not been cleared to play.
But while Harrison was quiet, his teammates – as expected – were anything but.
“I’m not surprised. You’re appealing to the same people who put the suspension in place, so no, I’m not surprised at all,” Steelers safety Ryan Clark said. “I don’t care about the league’s message anymore. It’s about us as a football team playing the type of football that’s going to help us win championships, despite who gets suspended, despite who gets fined.”
The NFL cited Harrison’s history of flagrant hits – this was his fifth on a quarterback – in making him the first player suspended under stricter guidelines for player safety that were invoked midway through last season.
The Steelers (10-3) are locked in a battle for the AFC North Division title with Baltimore (10-3). The Ravens won both games this season.
HURD CASE FALLOUT
The NFL says it is not aware of other players involved in the federal drug case against Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd.
Asked about a report that authorities have a list of NFL players with a connection to Hurd, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said: “We are not aware of such a list.”
Hurd was arrested Wednesday night after authorities said he agreed to buy a kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of cocaine from an undercover agent. General manager Jerry Angelo said Friday that the team has cut the 26-year-old Hurd, who was in his first year with the Bears and sixth year overall in the NFL.
Matt Hasselbeck will start for the Tennessee Titans against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, barring any setback. Hasselbeck practiced fully Friday despite an injured left calf. … New Orleans safety Roman Harper has been fined a total of $22,500 by the NFL for two infractions during the Saints’ game against the Titans: $15,000 for roughing the passer on a helmet-to-helmet hit, and another $7,500 for unnecessary roughness. … Benjamin Watson was placed on injured reserve, ending the season for the Cleveland Browns tight end after he sustained his third concussion since July.