Tomlin, Harrison discussed '08 arrest

ByScott Brown ESPN logo
Tuesday, September 23, 2014

PITTSBURGH -- With domestic abuse a hot-button issue in the NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin talked to James Harrison about his 2008 arrest for hitting his girlfriend before Pittsburgh brought back the veteran outside linebacker.

"I've discussed directly that climate change [in the NFL] with James," Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. "But knowing James, he's grown a lot, and I don't anticipate that being an issue at all moving forward."

Harrison, who re-signed with the Steelers on Tuesday morning, was charged with simple assault and criminal mischief following a fight with his girlfriend in March 2008.

Harrison later apologized for the incident through his attorney, and the charges were ultimately dropped.

Steelers chairman Dan Rooney drew an avalanche of criticism for defending Harrison in the wake of his arrest. Rooney, while not absolving Harrison of any wrongdoing, said the linebacker had been trying to do a good thing by getting his son baptized when a fight broke out at his girlfriend's Pittsburgh-area home.

Tomlin said Tuesday that re-signing Harrison was "a simple and easy decision" for the Steelers, who have been ravaged by injuries at the linebacker position.

"We know James. James knows us. James understands the schemes," Tomlin said. "We're going to do what he's capable of handling from a mental standpoint and a physical standpoint."

Tomlin also took to Twitter to post a photo of himself and the linebacker.

Deebo is back. There goes the neighborhood.

- Mike Tomlin (@CoachTomlin) September 23, 2014Steelers president Art Rooney II, Dan Rooney's son, is overseeing the investigation of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's handling of Ray Rice's domestic abuse case along with New York Giants owner John Mara.

Goodell has been under fire since TMZ released a videotape of Rice punching his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City hotel elevator and knocking her out.

After initially suspending Rice for two games, the embattled Goodell suspended the running back indefinitely on Sept. 8, shortly after the three-time Pro Bowler was released by the Baltimore Ravens.

The NFL and several teams have been criticized for their response to several other domestic abuse cases in addition to the one involving Rice.

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