James Harrison: Recent Remarks Prove Steelers LB Has No Regard for Safety

Mike Hoag@MikeHoagJrCorrespondent IIDecember 21, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 07:  James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers signals a teammate during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles on October 7, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

James Harrison, a controversial Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, recently came out and said that he has altered his style of tackling in order to adhere to NFL rules on play safety.

"I've really lowered my target area to where it's down around the knees," Harrison said, according to ESPN.com. "Situations come along where you could tackle the guy high. I don't do that anymore. I tackle the guy low."

The heavily fined linebacker also didn’t shy away from expressing his continual disagreement with the rules and their enforcement.

In his very next breath, he cited a 2011-12 postseason hit on Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker that resulted in a knee injury. That injury knocked Decker out for the remainder of the postseason.

He followed that up by continuing his defiance of the league’s rulings with a quick jab back, according to ESPN:

They're saying it's a life-threatening injury to hit a guy in the head and he gets a concussion and so on and so forth, but I think a life-threatening injury is to go low on a guy and blow out his ACL or whatever, and he's not able to come back the way he was before. Now he can't make a living, he can't feed his family, he can't do what he does. That's life-threatening to me.

Harrison not only downplayed the significance of suffering brain trauma, but he elevated the significance of a knee injury in order to further support his opinion.

Then, things got even better. Harrison continued to bring up his straw-man argument that the NFL is not trying to protect players because it is pushing for an 18-game season.

Prohibiting direct helmet-to-helmet hits to avoid brain injuries and adding two games to an NFL schedule both address player issues, but at entirely different levels.

It’s time that Harrison and other advocates of his line of thinking come to a realization: They do not need to continuously think and act from the two extreme levels of the rule.

Why does the outcome either have to be a concussion or a season-ending knee injury? The level of extreme thinking from Harrison proves that he is focused on his own beliefs and defending them without thinking about coming to a common ground with the league.

What exactly is the problem with tackling a player by using a proper technique?

Would squaring up and tackling at the waist or chest level jeopardize his ability to play linebacker effectively?

The speed of the game certainly complicates things, but creating an effort to avoid hitting another player in the helmet with the crown of your own head is not an impossibility.

The risk of injury is something each player has to weigh before signing a contract that could potentially result in bodily harm.

Notions that potential knee injuries are as dangerous as brain trauma and that the NFL does not care about player safety are very far off base.