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Steeler Harrison goes after Commissioner Roger Goodell

July 13, 2011 at 12:46 PM
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PITTSBURGH, July 13 (UPI) -- James Harrison's agent said Wednesday the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker was just venting in a rant against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Harrison made the verbal attack on Goodell in an interview published in the August issue of Men's Journal. He also used a slur for homosexuals to describe Goodell, who has headed the National Football League for almost five years.

"If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn't do it," Harrison said. "I hate him and will never respect him."

Harrison also lashed out at two of his teammates and other players.

Bill Parise, Harrison's agent, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette much of the player's anger stems from a $100,000 fine for late hits in the 2010 season.

"A lot of it is bravado," Parise said. "I think people have to be careful not to read that and think those statements are anything more than expressions of feelings, particularly in regard to the commissioner."

Parise said Harrison also made some good points about making the game safer, suggesting, for example, that players without guaranteed contracts are more likely to risk concussion by hitting high because knee injuries will cost them more in the short run. Repeated concussions have been blamed for long-term brain damage.

NFL players currently are locked out by team owners as the two sides negotiate a new labor agreement. The impasse threatens to disrupt fast-approaching pre-season training camps and exhibition games.

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