NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison has vowed not to change his style of play despite being slapped with fines totaling $125,000.
Harrison, who has been fined on four separate occasions this season, has the support of several other players, who believe the three-time Pro Bowler is being unfairly singled out and that the NFL rules are confusing.
“The way I play, there is nothing wrong with it,” Harrison told the team’s website (www.steelers.com). “I am not playing dirty. I am not doing anything that is outside of the lines.”
Harrison also said he would appeal his $25,000 fine for a hit Sunday on Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
“They are taking absurd amounts of money from me for plays that I consider to be clean, legal hits,” Harrison said. “I am not going to change the way I play.”
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin agreed with Harrison that the hit on Fitzpatrick was within the rules but added the linebacker needed to change his style of play.
“Obviously he does, because the league doesn’t agree with him,” the coach said.
But the Pittsburgh linebacker has the support of Baltimore Ravens’ three-time Pro Bowler Terrell Suggs, who suggested the 32-year-old Harrison was being singled out by the NFL.
“Referees are kind of looking for him to see if he breathes on the quarterback wrong,” the Ravens linebacker told reporters. “I think there is definitely some injustice.”
Steelers receiver Hines Ward said the league’s crackdown on hits to the head and neck have confused players and he thought the NFL was guilty of having a double standard.
“We don’t know what the league wants,” Ward told reporters.
“If you are so concerned about the safety, why are you adding two more games on?” he said of a league proposal to expand the regular season to 18 games.
“They are hypocrites. You say one thing but you do another.”
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Steve Ginsburg.
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