Harrison leaves facility

James Harrison (AP photo)

James Harrison was excused from meetings and practice today after meeting with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. No further details are available at this point. Following is an interview Harrison had this morning on SIRIUS XM's Mad Dog Radio:

Today on SIRIUS XM's Mad Dog Radio, hosts Gary Williams and Steve Phillips spoke with Steelers LB James Harrison about the $75,000 fine levied on him by the NFL and the hit that precipitated it.

On the Mohamed Massaquoi hit:

James Harrison: "Even if you want to say is was helmet-to-helmet, it really wasn't helmet-to-helmet. His helmet hit my shoulder pad if you slow everything down and look at it. We didn't actually hit helmets. It was the shoulder pad. And he lowered his target area by a good three feet. I mean, there's nothing really else I can do and that's why I'm so frustrated. How can I continue to play this game the way that I've been taught to play this game since I was 10 years old? And now you're telling me that everything that they've taught me from that time on, for the last 20-plus years, is not the way you're supposed to play the game anymore. If that's the case I can't play by those rules. You're handicapping me."

Host/Gary Williams: "Did you know that the NFL is selling [the photo of] that hit on their online photo store, or at least they were, for $195? Did you know that?"

Harrison: "Yes, I did know that. I found that out this morning. They're selling the hit that they fined me $75,000 for so I guess they want to get their money on the front end and the back end."

On his controversial comments about wanting to inflict pain with his tackles:

Host/Steve Phillips: "I appreciate that you play the game hard but by trying to inflict pain, the reality is you can launch yourself into a defenseless player and ultimately injure him. Can you make the same tackle without the idea of trying to inflict the pain? Can you play the game in a way where you go about it saying, ‘I'm going to tackle you but I'm not going to try to hurt you?'"

Harrison: "I'm going to tell you, when you play the game the way that you're talking about it being played what you have is the Pro Bowl. That's the type of game you'll have, is what the Pro Bowl is. We go out there, we play the game, no one is trying to do anything to anyone, everybody wants to get in and out [of] the game. Nobody wants to inflict any pain, you know, nobody gets hurt. That's what the Pro Bowl is."

Williams: "James, do you think, to a man, players in the NFL would rather get hit high or low?"

Harrison: "I'll tell you right now, if I'm running blind and I don't see the guy coming at me, by NFL rules, if he was to go and shoot at my knee and blow my whole knee out, that is a legal hit. All day. If you see me running blind and I don't see you, please hit me high and knock me silly. I'll pay your fine for you. Just don't hit me in my knee and end my career."

Phillips: "Obviously, a $75,000 fine is pretty significant. And every indication is that if you hit somebody like that again this week you will be fined again. Can you function under those rules? And if you sit down with Coach Tomlin and it's something you can't [do], are you truly going to walk away from the game?"

Harrison: "If I can't get a clear understanding of exactly what I got fined for. If I got fined for what is right there on that tape, then I don't see how I can continue to be effective and play this game. I mean, literally, you're handicapping me. You're taking away what, like I said, I was taught for the last 20 years on how to play the game. I can't go in there and do what it is that I do, that I have been doing, and be effective. So, yeah, that is something that I'll have to consider doing. I mean, I'm afraid to go out here and play the game the way I've been playing it. I mean, literally."

Williams: "Your words, the idea of not trying to injure but hurt, I think that exacerbated the amount of money that you were fined, because of what you said. I really believe that."

Harrison: "Ok, well, I'll no longer say that. I don't want to hurt anyone. I don't want anyone to feel pain. I don't want to do anything like, these are my words, please spread this around. James Harrison does not want to hurt anyone. I want to just make sure everyone gets out, no nothing. I don't want anyone hurt. It's a physically demanding game and I just don't want anybody to get hurt. I don't want to hurt anyone anymore. James Harrison does not want to hurt anyone."

Phillips: "What are the chances we see you playing against Miami this weekend?"

Harrison: "I really don't know."

("Gary and Phillips in the Morning," with Gary Williams and Steve Phillips, airs weekdays (6-10 am ET) on Mad Dog Radio, SIRIUS channel 123 and XM channel 144.)

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