Blog Entry

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:11 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 2:47 pm
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Some players might argue that the rules change led to Decker's knee injury. (US PRESSWIRE/AP)

By Ryan Wilson

On the first play of the second quarter of Sunday's Steelers-Broncos game, Tim Tebow completed a 21-yard pass to then-favorite target Eric Decker. It was a nice throw, and an easy catch for Decker right up to the moment when Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison tackled him low, collapsing Decker's knee in the process.

The Denver wide receiver ended up on the turf writhing in pain. He was helped off the field and didn't return. Literally adding insult to injury: the Steelers challenged the call, which was overturned to an incompletion. Of course, a play later, Tebow threw the first of many 30-plus-yard passes to Damaryius Thomas, and two plays after that, Denver led 7-6.

The hit by Harrison -- which is perfectly legal in the eyes of the league -- was the realization of fears many players voiced after NFL rules prohibited hitting players high. The players' thinking: it's a lot easier to come back from a high-impact collision when it doesn't involve torn knee ligaments or broken legs.

Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway knows this, and he doesn't think that Harrison's intentions were dirty. It's just the nature of today's NFL. (And we discussed it on Tuesday's Pick-6 Podcast embedded below for your listening pleasure)


"The (tackling) target is now lower," Elway said on his weekly Denver radio show on 102.3 FM Monday night according to The Huddle.

"Harrison yesterday, because of the fact that he's been fined so often, really had no other option. ... I don't think he intended to hurt Eric. But obviously because of the situations he's been in, he had to go low and stay away from the head. And it ended up costing an MCL sprain for Eric."

It's the unintended consequences of actions not thought through entirely. Yes, the NFL should thrive for making the game as safe as possible, but drastic changes don't come without ramifications. And the league can't argue that knee injuries were unforeseen because players lamented the possibly as soon as the new rules were announced.

The NFL could point out, however, that the prevalence of knee injuries haven't increased in light of the rules changes. (We write this anecdotally; Decker is the first time we remember a player suffering a below-the-waist injury on a play that, in previous seasons, might've resulted in a hit to the shoulders or head area.) The NFL could also show that even chronic offenders can change the way they play.

Harrison was suspended in Week 15 for taking off Colt McCoy's head in the previous game. At the time, Harrison said "I don't know. I guess try and be more aware about the placement of my face mask. I don't know how you tackle someone and not use any part of your head, especially if you're trying to see what you're hitting. I mean, your face mask is going to touch them."

And now the league has what it wants. It's just that, depending on player backlash, they might not want it very long.

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Comments

Since: Oct 17, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 2:53 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

i do know the Steelers season is over......



Since: Sep 17, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 2:20 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Not dirty?....Have we forgotten who made the hit...Once again Harrison's front and center of another hit that has put someone out of the game...I would say it's about time someone gives him a taste of his own medicine...but not this year...thanks Tebow



Since: Feb 23, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2012 2:10 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

So if you can't go for the head, you must go for the knees?  What about the body? Oh, wait, it's much harder to hurt somebody that way, therefore Harrison won't do that.



Since: Jul 27, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 2:09 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Last comment I made was for ARM&hammer!



Since: Jul 27, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 2:08 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Obviously you don't know football!



Since: Oct 17, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:55 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

I hope something awful happens to that dirty SOB and soon.  hes an overrated chicken-sh*t and would be nothing without the very good players he's had around him. 



Since: Dec 19, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:49 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Good to see this headline as he just served a suspension for hitting to high so if this would have been a fine for hitting to low that might have broke the straw for me to continue being a football fan as the rules are on the verge of taking the football out of the game and start handing tennis rackets out..



Since: Feb 25, 2010
Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:24 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Steelers fans crying about Godell caring about player safety?  Typical Pittsburgh trash.  Lets force them to take off all their pads and play the game like men right!  Only head-hunting tackling allowed!!!



Since: Aug 19, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:40 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Thanks to John Elway for "keeping it real". And thanks to DICK-Tator Goodeele for screwing up the game of football.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com