James Harrison defends Vontaze Burfict's hit on Antonio Brown

After laying a hard hit to the head of Antonio Brown on Saturday night, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is facing a potential suspension for hitting a defenseless receiver. 

Burfict was flagged 15 yards for the hit late in the Bengals meltdown and now the Steelers receiver is going through the concussion protocol. 

Just about everyone agrees it was a dirty hit. Except for Brown's own teammate! James Harrison, who has had his share of fines and flags for controversial hits, came to Burfict's defense after the game.

"By rule as they told me when I went down to New York that is a penalty. Personally, I don't think it is because I don't think you can get out of the way fast enough," Harrison said on NFL Network following the game, via FOX Sports.

Harrison also added Burfict can be "a little bit out of control" but is also "calculated" in how he pushes the line.

Harrison defended his coach and the other team's players. (USATSI)

Unfortunately for Burfict, part of his calculation in this instance didn't include the 15 yards he would be penalized for hitting Brown and helping to set up the Steelers for a game-winning field goal.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis also attempted to defend the hit, apparently comparing it to other hits he saw on Saturday night.

"He's trying to go over and defend the play," Lewis said. "They deemed that to be a hit to the head and others not today."

The likely comparison for Lewis? Ryan Shazier's hit on Giovani Bernard that resulted in a recovered fumble for the Steelers (Bernard was ruled a runner on review) and was not penalized. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories