Harrison passes on making big hit on Dolphins' Brown
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Steelers linebacker James Harrison said he knows how to play football only one way.
Still, Harrison said he gave pause before attempting to line up Miami Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown for a tackle early in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game at Sun Life Stadium.
To go for big hit or not to go for the big hit?
Brown turned a short toss from quarterback Chad Henne into a 5-yard gain.
"The one where Ronnie Brown was coming across the middle, and I started to go in there and hit him," said Harrison, who recorded four uneventful tackles in the Steelers' 23-22 win in his first game after being fined $75,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit against Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. "It looked like he might have been sliding down, sort of like the same situation with Massaquoi.
"I had a chance to put my head in there, but it looked like he was crouching down, and I didn't want to get a helmet-to- helmet, so I just put my face in there. Luckily, he went down and didn't scamper for another 10, 15 yards."
Otherwise, Harrison said he played his normal game. He insisted he didn't allow the national controversy surrounding his hit against Massaquoi affect how he played against the Dolphins.
"I wasn't trying to send a message," Harrison said. "No extra motivation than it is any other game. I was just out there playing the game the way that I've been taught to play since I was 10."
In his first public comments since appearing on several national radio shows last week, Harrison repeated that he didn't try to intentionally hurt Massaquoi. He said the helmet-to-helmet contact was unavoidable.
"That hit with Massaquoi was something that was uncontrollable," Harrison said. "The guy ducked and crouched down on me. My angle was all ready to hit him around his waist area. We hit helmet-to-helmet. Yet they want to fault me for that. I'm a pro athlete, true. I can adjust, but I can't adjust to something at the last minute. That's unreal."
Asked if he believes he will win his appeal with the NFL regarding his $75,000 fine, Harrison replied: "I don't know if it will be overturned, but if you look at the play, there's no way you can say I was trying to hurt the guy."
Steelers vs. Dolphins 10/24
The Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium Oct. 24, 2010.