Steelers' Harrison turns hits into fine art
FORT WORTH, Texas - Several weeks have passed since James Harrison was fined $125,000 for a series of violent hits, but the bitterness remains.
"They took $100,000 out of my pocket. You think I'm not bitter?" Harrison asked rhetorically Tuesday at Super Bowl XLV Media Day at Cowboys Stadium. Harrison made it clear his frustration with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell won't go away any time soon.
Harrison was fined $125,000 for the hits against Browns receivers Joshua Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi, Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. But the fines were lowered to $100,000 on appeal.
Harrison briefly considered retirement early in the season, but admitted it would have been a rash decision.
"At the time, it was something that was really serious," Harrison said. "Stepping back and having time to look at it and evaluate it, it was a decision not well thought out, not planned out."
Harrison said after being fined $75,000 for the Massaquoi and Cribbs hits that he wants to "hurt people." He feels that comment led to additional sanctions.
"That contributed to a lot of why I was fined so much," he said. "If I had walked away, I don't think the fine would have been as drastic as it was."
He made it crystal clear he doesn't want to hurt anyone. In fact, he even joked about how gently he now wants to tackle the Packers in Super Bowl XLV.
"I don't want to hurt nobody," he said. "I don't want to step on nobody's foot and hurt their toe. I don't want to have no dirt or none of this rubber on the field fly into their eye and make their eye hurt. I just want to tackle them softly on the ground, and if y'all can, lay a pillow down where I'm going to tackle them so they don't hit the ground too hard, Mr. Goodell."
Harrison said he hasn't had to change his tackling technique drastically, but has been more aware of where to put his head when hitting players. "When it comes down to it, it's about the placement of your head when you hit somebody," he said. "Sometimes, you can place your head to where it's out of the way and sometimes you can't."
Harrison met with Goodell last season to discuss the hits, but didn't make any headway with the commissioner.
"What made it even worse was they said, you can't put any part of the helmet on ," he said. "With that being said, you can probably count 30 times a game where somebody hit somebody and part of their helmet hits their shoulder pads or something while they're tackling them that's a defenseless receiver that they don't call a flag and aren't fined for."
Has he tried to make a case to Goodell?
"There's no need to make a case," he said. "That's like trying to make a case to a cop that gives you a ticket, and you go to court and that same cop that gave you the ticket, he's the judge, too. You can't make a case."