ShareThis Page

Tomlin expects Harrison to return to practice tomorrow

| Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he sent James Harrison home today so the disgruntled outside linebacker could take "a little time to cool off."

"I'm sure he'll be back in the building and ready to play football tomorrow," Tomlin said after practice today.

Harrison is frustrated and perplexed after getting fined by the NFL $75,000 Tuesday for a hit that knocked Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi out of last Sunday's game.

Harrison said Massaquoi lowered his head before the tackle, which is why it turned into a helmet to helmet hit. Harrison said during interviews on several national radio shows that he is contemplating retirement because of restrictions placed on him by NFL rules.

Tomlin said such talk is just that — talk. He implied that Harrison would have practiced today had Tomlin not sent him home.

"It bothers him that maybe he's perceived as a dirty player," said Tomlin, who still thinks that Harrison hit on Massaquoi was a legal one. "He doesn't want to be. He simply wants to play the game and play it extremely well."

When asked if Harrison will have to change his style of play, Tomlin said, "At the end of the day no. We just have to take a conscious effort in terms of safeguarding players as much as we can."

Several Steelers defensive players today voiced frustration over the rules and confusion over what is now considered a legal hit.

Said Tomlin, "It's a very emotional thing but there's no confusion."

The Harrison fine comes as the NFL is cracking down on what it perceives as head hunting with stricter enforcement of the rule that prohibits hitting a defenseless player above the shoulders.

Free safety Ryan Clark said he is not going to change his approach to the game. But, the Steelers player representative added, "You think about the Wes Welker hit (in 2008). I hit him with all arms and shoulders. So if that starts to be a penalty we'll wear flags and see what we can do from there."

Clark and several others said they'd like to see the NFL take measures to protect defensive players as well.

"You look at a situation with Troy (Polamalu), who gets a head injury (in the Browns game) standing straight up and (running back) Peyton Hillis lowers his head and hits Troy in the face, there's no fine about that," Clark said. "Nobody talks about that because Troy didn't lay on the ground, because that film wasn't shown over and over on ESPN."

Polamalu said today after practice that he is "fine" though the Pro Bowl safety added that Hillis initiated helmet to helmet contact.

"I think (protection of players) should be both ways," Polamalu said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.