Pittsburgh Steelers' James Harrison aiming low on hits


Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison has been fined more than $100,000 during his career for hits the NFL deemed to be outside the rules.

Those fines -- along with his much-publicized suspension for a hit that concussed Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy last season -- has led Harrison to change the way he plays the game.

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

Harrison points out that hitting low doesn't necessarily make the game any safer. In some ways, Harrison believes this approach is equally dangerous. The four-time Pro Bowl selection recalled his hit that injured Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker in a playoff game last January.

"I could have tackled him high, but if I had hit him high, I probably would have gotten a helmet-to-helmet or something and gotten fined," Harrison said. "So I hit him low and (he) strained his MCL.

"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."

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.