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Harrison lashes out at Goodell

Steeler takes shot at Roethlisberger

JAMES HARRISON Spares no wrath JAMES HARRISON
Spares no wrath
Associated Press / July 14, 2011

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Heavily fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison calls NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook’’ and a “devil,’’ among other insults, in a magazine article.

The 2008 Defensive Player of the Year hasn’t been shy about ripping the league after he was docked $100,000 for illegal hits last season. In the August issue of Men’s Journal, his rants against Goodell reach another level of wrath.

“If that man was on fire and I had to [expletive] to put him out, I wouldn’t do it,’’ Harrison told the magazine. “I hate him and will never respect him.’’

His other descriptions of the commissioner include an anti-gay slur, “stupid,’’ “puppet’’ and “dictator.’’

If the Steelers had defeated the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl, Harrison said, he would have whispered in Goodell’s ear during the trophy ceremony: “Why don’t you quit and do something else, like start your own league in flag football?’’

Harrison also criticizes other NFL executives, Patriots-turned-commentators Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi (“clowns’’), Houston’s Brian Cushing (“juiced out of his mind’’) - and even teammates Rashard Mendenhall and Ben Roethlisberger for their performances in the Super Bowl loss.

Harrison calls the running back a “fumble machine’’ for his fourth-quarter turnover.

Mendenhall said on Twitter yesterday he didn’t have a problem with what Harrison said “because I know him.’’ But he also included a link to his stats from last season, which show he didn’t have a pattern of fumbling.

Of the quarterback’s two interceptions, Harrison says: “Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the D to bail you out again. Or hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain’t that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does.’’

Steelers president Art Rooney II said in a statement that he hadn’t seen the article or talked to Harrison.

“We will discuss the situation at the appropriate time, when permitted once the labor situation is resolved,’’ he said.

Harrison also questions whether a black player is punished more for a hard hit on a white player than the opposite.

Harrison also explained how non-guaranteed contracts make players more likely to hit high, because in the short term, a torn knee ligament is more costly than a concussion.

He suggested the real way to prevent head injuries is to shorten the season to 14 games, start offseason workouts later and trim the length of training camp so “we’re not bangin’ heads so much in August; that’s where the brain trauma comes from.’’

More complaints NFL retirees say they have fresh complaints against the league and the players they accuse of negotiating a new labor deal without them.

Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller is the lead plaintiff for the retirees.

Attorneys for the Eller plaintiffs asked a Minneapolis judge for permission to update an existing complaint signaling their intent to sue both sides for allegedly leaving them out of the labor talks.

The retirees say a federal appeals court decision upholding the lockout is one of the reasons an update is needed and so are the “unlawful’’ ongoing talks that don’t include them.

The retirees say the NFL and NFLPA “have conspired’’ to set low retiree benefit and pension payments. A hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 8 in Minneapolis.

Metrodome roof is up Seven months after the Metrodome’s Teflon-coated fiberglass ceiling collapsed in a snowstorm, forcing the Minnesota Vikings to play their final two home games last season elsewhere, a new roof has been raised in plenty of time for the first exhibition game.

Stadium officials and construction workers inflated the roof yesterday morning as a test. No problems popped up, so the roof of the 29-year-old stadium will stay up while the finishing touches are put on a rebuilding project that began in March.

The new roof sits a little lower than before, to better withstand strong winds and help prevent snow from piling up in drifts. But it still sports the puffy, muffin-top look that frames the east side of the downtown Minneapolis skyline. The 10-acre surface, just one-16th of an inch thick, is held up by several 100-horsepower fans.

The Vikings are scheduled to play their first home exhibition game Aug. 27, assuming the lockout is over.

Joint practice off The Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints will not hold three joint practices leading up to their Aug. 20 preseason games, while they await the end of the lockout. The teams have practiced together in the previous three training camps, leading up to their exhibition game. It’s become a popular event among fans in the cities, separated by only 350 miles. Last year, the teams practiced in New Orleans before playing at the Superdome . . . The Washington Redskins announced that solar power panels will be in place at FedEx Field and in the stadium’s parking lot this September. The system will provide a portion of the stadium’s electricity on game days and all of its electricity on non-game days. NRG Energy will install 8,000 panels as well as covered parking that the team said will protect fans from inclement weather and enhance tailgating. Panels will cover 850 parking spaces and provide two megawatts of electricity . . . Offensive coordinator Mike Martz said the Chicago Bears could play in the Hall of Fame game on a day’s notice if necessary. Of course, he admitted that’s not realistic and he wouldn’t want to try. But if they absolutely, positively had to? “If we report to camp and they say, ‘Tomorrow, you’re playing the game,’ that’ll be plenty,’’ he said. The Bears are scheduled to open training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., late next week and play St. Louis in the Hall of Fame game Aug. 7. All that is in doubt because of the lockout. Bears star Devin Hester said he thinks players would need a week-and-a-half of practice to prepare for the game.

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