Harrison to retire over new rules?

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 7:16 PM ET

Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison was excused from practice Wednesday after it was reported the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year was considering retirement after being fined for two hits he delivered in this past Sunday's game against Cleveland.

Harrison was fined $75,000 after he knocked out Browns receivers Mohamed Massaquoi and Joshua Cribbs with vicious hits. Both players sustained a concussion as a result. Additionally, a league-wide memo was sent by the NFL on Wednesday stressing increased discipline, including suspensions, for helmet-to-helmet hits on defenseless receivers.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Harrison was considering hanging up his cleats because the revised rules handicap his playing style. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin met with the seven-year veteran prior to practice on Wednesday.

"We had a conversation, a very productive conversation. At that time I thought it was beneficial to him and to us if I gave him a little time to cool off, give him the day. I excused him at that time," said Tomlin, who also reiterated he thought both of Harrison's hits were legal. "I am sure he will be back in the building tomorrow ready to play football."

Harrison has 40 tackles, five sacks and four forced fumbles in five games this season.

"Needless to say this is a very emotional thing for James," Tomlin added. "He's a very disciplined and regimented guy. He's passionate about the game of football. It bothers him maybe that he's being perceived as a dirty player. He doesn't desire to be. He simply wants to play the game and play extremely well."

The Steelers have a road game against Miami on Sunday.


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