Steelers' Harrison takes day off, considers retiring
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin met with linebacker James Harrison today and decided to excuse him for the rest of the work day, a team spokesman said this morning.
Harrison said in some radio interviews that he would rather retire than be hamstrung by the kinds of rules that the NFL charged he violated with a hit Sunday on Cleveland Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. The NFL fined Harrison $75,000 on Tuesday for that hit.
"How can I continue to play this game the way that I've been taught to play this game since I was 10 years old?" Harrison said on Sirius XM Radio this morning. "And now you're telling me that everything that they've taught me from that time on, for the last 20-plus years, is not the way you're supposed to play the game anymore. If that's the case I can't play by those rules. You're handicapping me."
Bill Parise, Harrison's agent, confirmed that the linebacker is contemplating retirement, which is why he met with Tomlin this morning.
"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.'"
Parise said there is "no fighting, no arguing," just discussions. He said Harrison has been talking with his coaches, the Steelers, his mother and the agent.
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.
A source had told the Post-Gazette that Harrison called the Steelers Tuesay and told them he would not be coming to work today. However, he did report to their facility on the city's South Side to meet with Tomlin.
The Steelers said Tomlin would be available after practice today to discuss the situation.
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