Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison’s hard hits on the field keep getting matched by the NFL’s hits to his paycheck.
Harrison was fined $20,000 Thursday for a late hit on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, the third time he has been fined this season for a dangerous tackle.
The penalties total $100,000, including a $75,000 fine for his Oct. 17 helmet hit that left Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi with a concussion.
“The amount of money is becoming an issue,” Harrison said Thursday. “The fines that they issued to me, two of them weren’t even called penalties. I don’t even know what to say anymore.”
The $75,000 fine was issued two weeks ago, when the NFL adopted its tougher stance on hits to the head and neck – a policy that caused Harrison to consider retiring.
Defensive backs Brandon Meriweather of New England and Dunta Robinson of Atlanta were fined $50,000 each that week for what the league termed flagrant violation of safety rules. Harrison drew a bigger fine because he was a repeat offender.
Harrison also was fined $5,000 for slamming Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young to the turf on Sept. 19. Neither the Massaquoi nor the Young plays drew penalties.
After Harrison slammed into Brees’ back during Pittsburgh’s 20-10 loss Sunday night, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell summoned the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker to New York on Tuesday to talk about the NFL’s stricter enforcement of dangerous hits. Harrison termed the meeting “semi-productive,” and said it included a discussion of the Brees hit.
Carey also draws fine
The NFL fined Jacksonville Jaguars safety Don Carey $12,500 for an illegal hit on Dallas tight end Jason Witten in last Sunday’s game.
Carey said he is the latest player fined during the NFL’s crackdown on flagrant hits. Carey launched himself toward Witten and made contact with Witten’s helmet during the Jaguars’ 35-17 victory.
Carey drew a 15-yard personal foul penalty for the play.
Reggie Bush was limited during New Orleans Saints practice, raising his prospects for getting back in the lineup for the first time since breaking a bone in his lower right leg in the second game of the season.
“It felt pretty good – still a little bit of pain there, but nothing that I couldn’t handle. Nothing that wasn’t expected,” Bush said. “We’ll just keep pushing every day and see what happens at the end of this week.”
Head coach Sean Payton stopped short of saying he thought Bush would be ready to go by this Sunday’s game at Carolina.
“He’s still not moving the way you’d like, but I think he’s making a lot of progress quickly and so each day we try to give him more to do,” Payton said.
Bush fractured his fibula when he dove on his muffed punt and players piled on top of him in the fourth quarter of the Saints’ 25-22 victory at San Francisco on Sept. 20.
Coach Chan Gailey and the winless Buffalo Bills will have to wait a little longer before formally welcoming newly acquired outside linebacker Shawne Merriman.
And it’ll be at least another week before the one-time feared pass-rusher will have a chance to make his debut.
A day after acquiring Merriman off of waivers, Gailey announced after practice that the player is tentatively scheduled to report to the team today. Gailey also said Merriman is out from playing in Buffalo’s game against Chicago (4-3) at Toronto on Sunday.
Under NFL rules, players claimed on waivers have five days to report to their new teams.
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