Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison has been excused from Wednesday's practice after meeting with coach Mike Tomlin about the $75,000 US fine Harrison incurred for a helmet hit on a Cleveland Browns receiver.
Harrison has made it clear he's upset about the fine, saying in multiple radio interviews that he isn't certain that he can keep playing the way he has been taught since he was a youngster, now that the league is threatening to suspend players for dangerous hits.
Tomlin said he expects Harrison to return to practice on Thursday.
"We had a meeting this morning, he and I did. It was a very productive one," Tomlin said in a conference call with Miami reporters. "I thought part of being productive and moving forward was excusing him for today and coming back starting new tomorrow."
Harrison was the 2008 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and has a reputation of being one of the league's hardest hitters. His helmet hits caused Browns receivers Joshua Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi to leave Sunday's game with concussions.
Harrison was fined, but not suspended, for the hit on an unprotected Massaquoi as the receiver attempted to complete a catch.
The three-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker also said he might retire, although the Steelers don't seem to be taking that threat seriously. If he quit, Harrison would owe the Steelers a share of the $20 million in upfront money he collected when he signed a $51.2 million, six-year contract in April 2009.