The NFL has suspended Steelers OLB James Harrison for one game for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Browns QB Colt McCoy in last Thursday night's game.
It was Harrison's fifth illegal hit against a quarterback in the last three seasons, according to the NFL. He received four fines for illegal hits against QBs in 2009 and 2010 and was fined twice for unnecessary roughness in that period for a total of six fines from 2009-2010.
Harrison may not practice or be at the team's facility or stadium this week and will be reinstated on Dec. 20. Harrison can appeal within three business days, and an "expedited hearing and decision would take place this week in advance of this weekend's games." According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Harrison plans to appeal.
The Steelers play the 49ers on Monday night in Week 15. Pittsburgh can clinch a playoff spot with a win or tie.
Harrison is the first player to be suspended for a helmet-to-helmet hit since the league decided to crack down last season.
The way we see it
Harrison has claimed that McCoy was a runner and therefore was not defenseless, but that doesn't excuse Harrison from hitting McCoy with his helmet first. No player is more scrutinized for his hits than Harrison, and his disdain for commissioner Roger Goodell and the league's policy on hits is widely known. We will have to see if the suspension changes Harrison's style of play.