Harrison suspension upheld

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison game suspension was upheld on Friday.

Harrison was suspended for his helmet-to-helmet hit against Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy last Thursday. The NFL announced the penalty on Tuesday and expedited the appeal, which was heard by former NFL coach Ted Cottrell.

Under the NFL collective bargaining agreement, Cottrell is one of two officers jointly appointed and compensated by the NFL and NFLPA to decide the appeals of on-field player discipline. Art Shell is the other NFL-NFLPA appeals officer for on-field violations.

Harrison was penalized for roughing the passer and McCoy suffered a concussion because of the hit, which occurred when Harrison lowered his head and struck McCoy's facemask just after the quarterback had released a pass after scrambling out of the pocket.

This marks Harrison's fifth illegal hit against a quarterback in the past three seasons, classifying him as a repeat offender.

Harrison cannot practice or be at the team facility or stadium during the suspension, and will not be allowed to return until he is reinstated on December 20.