Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who was fined $75,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi in Sunday's game, hinted during a series of radio interviews in the last two days that he is seriously considering retirement because he fears he can't adjust to the league's new emphasis on reducing vicious hits by defenders.
But Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said this afternoon that he expects Harrison to be back at work tomorrow and to be in the lineup when the Steelers play the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday. Tomlin excused Harrison from practice today, fueling further speculation that he may call it quits.
"He didn't go home [on his own]," Tomlin said, per the Pittsburgh Post Dispatch. "I asked him to ... I'm sure he'll be back in the building tomorrow."
Tomlin said that the past few days have been a "very emotional thing for James" and that it bothers the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker to be perceived as a dirty player. Linebacker James Farrior, the Steelers' defensive captain, also said he expects Harrison to return to work Thursday.
Bill Parise, Harrison's agent, confirmed that the linebacker is contemplating retirement, which is why he met with Tomlin this morning, according to Ed Bouchette of the Post Gazette. "That's exactly true," Parise said. "He met with the coach and left for today. He's in the process of contemplating is it possible to play football under these new rules ... 'if I go to work and tackle somebody and get a fine.'"
Harrison signed a six-year, $51.2 million contract in April 2009 that included a reported $20 million in bonuses. If Harrison would retire before the contract expires, the Steelers could demand he pay back some of those bonuses.