James Harrison: I let up on Michael Vick so I wouldn’t get fined

Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker James Harrison said previous fines for hard hits changed the way he pursued Eagles quarterback Mike Vick on Sunday (Credit: AP Photo)

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison has led the league in helmet-to-helmet fines over the last couple years. After the first game of this year, Harrison said those fines have changed the way he plays. Apparently, those fines changed the way he played on Sunday as well.

Harrison said that in Sunday’s win over the Eagles, he altered the way he pressured Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick, slowing down when he had a good shot at Vick because the possibility of getting fined was in his mind.

“I was nervous. I thought he might duck his head, and I might hit him, and I can’t take no fines,” Harrison said, via 105.9 in Pittsburgh “I was worried more about the fine. . . . If at the last second he ducks his head, ducks down and we make helmet-to-helmet contact, it’s the fault of the defender.”

Harrison, who said he would give himself a C-minus for his performance Sunday after a long layoff with a knee injury, clearly thinks it’s a bad thing that fines are forcing him to change the way he plays. But from the NFL’s perspective, that means the fines are having their intended effect.

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