The NFL has suspended Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison for one game without pay for his fifth illegal hit on a quarterback in the past three seasons.
Harrison was penalized for roughing the passer on a helmet-to-facemask hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy during the Steelers' 14-3 win over Cleveland this past Thursday night.
"We're disappointed, we're disappointed for James," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Monday. "Because we know, quite frankly, how hard he's worked to play within the rules. He's worked extremely hard to adjust his game. Unfortunately, the incident did happen, it was a penalty, we have to be accountable for that. He has to be accountable for that."
The suspension is effective immediately, however, Harrison has requested an expedited hearing and a date has been set for his appeal, his agent, Bill Parise, told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora. Appeal conference calls generally are heard on Thursday, according to La Canfora, with a decision rendered Friday. Ted Cottrell is in line to hear Harrison's appeal after Art Shell heard the Ndamukong Suh case.
Harrison is not allowed to practice with the Steelers this week or be at the team practice facility or stadium during the suspension and will be reinstated on Dec. 20. The Steelersvisit the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night.
"Thank you to all my fans and supporters, I'm just going to move on from here and get ready for my next game."
Harrison, who had not been fined this season, said Monday that that he should be neither fined nor suspended for his hit on McCoy.
Harrison was fined a total of six times during the 2009 and 2010 seasons for four illegal hits against quarterbacks and twice for unnecessary roughness. He was fined $125,000 last year for a series of hits, growing so frustrated at one point he threatened to retire.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.