James Harrison will never be viewed as an impartial observer when it comes to matters involving Roger Goodell, but his comments about the NFL Commissioner are always good fodder for us media folks.
"If (Vilma) loses, it shows Goodell does have too much power," Harrison said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "and if he wins, it opens up the floodgates."
Goodell suspended Vilma for a season without pay for his involvement in the New Orleans Saints' "bounty" program. Harrison and other NFL players have criticized Goodell and the league for not revealing the evidence that ties Vilma to the Saints' illicit pay-for-performance practices.
Harrison has been a vocal detractor of Goodell dating back to 2010, when the commissioner fined the five-time Pro Bowl player $100,000 for multiple on-field infractions. He was suspended one game last season for a helmet-to-helmet hit that concussed Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.
Harrison also shared his opinion on the league's approval of a proposal that players must wear thigh and knee pads beginning in 2013.
"I don't know how many guys end their career on a thigh or a knee bruise," Harrison said. "If they really want to do something, they should get rid of the high-low block. I thought that was illegal, but it isn't (on running plays).
"If you ask me, I think it's more dangerous in the run game. When it comes down to it, the (NFL) Competition Committee doesn't feel that way. Of course, a few of those guys that are on that (committee), their teams practice doing that, so they wouldn't feel that way."