Wednesday, October 20, 2010

...James Harrison

After a hard hitting past Sunday in the NFL, fines were dished out to several players who the NFL felt were head hunting. I'm not going to get into the debate about if the hits were legal or not, whether the nature of football includes violent collisions or not or any other issues that deal with preserving the "integrity" of the sport.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison was one of the players who was fined. He had two separate incidents in the Sunday contest with the Cleveland Browns. The NFL issued a $75,000 fine for the hits.

Today, James Harrison threatened to retire.

Football is a violent game by nature. Injuries have happened since the inception of the game and will continue. As player get faster and stronger, more players will get injured.

The NFL will continue to adapt to make the games safer. While most fans enjoy the gladiator feel of the sport, they would all clamor if it were their team's quarterback or running back that was seriously hurt. And God forbid someone is paralyzed, which happened just this past weekend to Rutgers University football player Eric LeGrand.

In the past three days, if you have been paying attention to sports discussions on television, radio and online, you have heard every opinion about the NFL, what the should do, the new policy and player safety.

But isn't that what the NFL is supposed to do? Doesn't it have a responsibility to try to protect its' players as much as possible?

If James Harrison feels that he can't play the game of football the way he needs to, then he should retire. The Steelers have a great track record of replacing linebackers like James. Greg Lloyd, Kevin Greene, Levon Kirkland and Joey Porter are just some of the outstanding defenders it seemed the Steelers would be foolish to cut ties with. But they were all let go at some point and replaced. And the Steelers' defense never missed a beat.

Is James Harrison trying to prove a point? Does he think that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will feel sorry for him and rescind his fine? Or is he just doing what most of today's athletes do - try to shine the spotlight on them when it shouldn't be.

Go ahead and retire James. Just remember, you are replaceable. Everyone is and the Steelers have proved it.

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