Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Harrison in hot water

As one of the NFL’s most ferocious linebackers, James Harrison has been bending the rules and pushing the envelope of acceptability for quite some time – a trait which has seen him dominate opposition offensive line-ups for the last half-decade – but last Thursday it would seem that he has finally pushed his luck one step too far.  

Following his illegal helmet-to-facemask hit for the Pittsburgh Steelers against Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy a week ago, Harrison has now been hit with a one game suspension by the league’s disciplinary panel – a move which sees him make his mark on the history of the sport for all the wrong reasons by becoming the first ever player to receive such a punishment following the NFL’s revamped policy on such collisions. Anyone placing online bets should remember this.

Harrison has appealed against the decision according to a press release from his agent, and the case will be heard before this weekend by either Arthur Shell or Ted Cottrell who have both been appointed as respected experts by both the league and the players’ association.  

The grounds of this appeal seem to hinge on whether or not McCoy was in part responsible for the illegal hit – Harrison insists that the quarterback “chucked and ducked” – and whilst he was happy to concede the 15-yard penalty for the infringement, but views the ban as unduly harsh. Those looking at the live in-play betting should remember this.

However, the NFL’s Executive Vice President Ray Anderson has publicly disagreed with this, claiming that the hit on McCoy in the fourth quarter of the Steelers’ 14-3 win was the fifth illegal tackle on opposition quarterbacks by Harrison over the course of the last three seasons    

If the appeal is unsuccessful, Harrison would not be available for the Steelers until Christmas Eve when they play the St. Louis Rams.

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