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Son of Steelers' Harrison to remain in hospital for precautionary reasons

PITTSBURGH -- The agent of Steelers linebacker James Harrison says the player's young son is doing fine after an attack by a pit bull but may remain in a Pittsburgh hospital another day or two.

2008 Statistics
Tackles: 101

Sacks: 16

Forced Fumbles: 7

Harrison's family had hoped that 2-year-old James Harrison III would be released on Monday, but Harrison's agent, William Parise, says the hospital is being cautious about any possible infection concerns. Parise says there don't appear to be any complications.

Parise says the boy was bitten on the thigh after his mother let the dog out of its pen on Thursday afternoon. Also hurt were the woman and the player's massage therapist, who Parise says needed three stitches.

The hospital has declined comment, saying the family has asked that no information be released.

Parise said Harrison was not home at the time, but was nearby and alerted after the dog attack.

The dog was removed by an animal control agency.

Burt Lauten, spokesman for the Steelers, said the team is "aware of this unfortunate situation. We express our concern for his family and hope that everyone involved makes a complete recovery."

A Franklin Park police spokeswoman said on Friday that police are not commenting because the incident remains under investigation.

Harrison lives about 15 miles north of the city.

Parise said Harrison has not had trouble with the animal in the past.

"I've been with that dog personally; he's a wonderful animal," Parise said.

Parise said he doesn't know why the boy's mother let the dog out of the pen, other than to say he believes it was for a routine reason such as feeding or to care for the animal. The boy's mother does not live at the house, Parise said.

"There's no reason to believe that this is anything other than something that sometimes happens to children," Parise said. "The child should be fine."

Harrison is the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and scored on a 100-yard interception return in the team's 27-23 victory over Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII. He made headlines for declining to join the Steelers on a White House visit on Thursday, though he passed up the same opportunity after the Steelers beat Seattle in Super Bowl XL in 2006.

In 2006, then-Steelers linebacker Joey Porter was cited by police in Pine Township, another suburb north of Pittsburgh, after two of his dogs got loose and killed a miniature horse on a nearby farm. Northern Regional Police said then that Porter's dogs were licensed in his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif., but not in Allegheny County.

A woman who lives a few houses down from Harrison said his dogs are well-behaved and cared for and are not a problem for neighbors.

"I jog and I run past his house every day and I have never had any problems with that dog whatsoever," said Marissa Posteraro, 19. "I have never seen the dog or heard the dog bark or whatever so I was very surprised to find out that happened."

"The dog is very well kept. It's never gotten loose before that I know of," she said.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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