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NFL to Stop Selling Photos of Illegal Hits

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NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league made a mistake when it offered for sale photos of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison's illegal hit (for which he was fined $75,000) on Cleveland Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi through its website.

Here's the photo in question (which has been taken down since):

"...We will ensure that no photos of illegal plays will be available again. An outside vendor uses an automated process to post photos for sale to fans. We will fix the process immediately."

After a spate of recent flagrant tackles, the NFL will begin punishing violators with suspensions.

ESPN reports that "The NFL noted Harrison is a repeat offender; he was fined $5,000 for unnecessary roughness in Pittsburgh's win over Tennessee on Sept. 19."

Whatever revenue the league brings in from sales of photos--on, they range from $15.95 to $569.95--the safety of players trumps profit in anyone's book.

In 2007, Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett ducked his head tackling Denver's Domenik Hixon and was paralyzed from the neck down

Detroit Lions guard Mike Utley was paralyzed below the chest after a neck injury during a 1991 game.

They both eventually walked again.

But the fate of Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed below the neck after making a tackle during a game against Army, is still up in the air.

As for James Harrison, he now views himself as the victim in this case.

"I'm going to sit down and have a serious conversation with my coach tomorrow and see if I can actually play by NFL rules and still be effective," Harrison said. "If not, I may have to give up playing football."

His agent, Bill Parise, said, "I've talked to James, and he's very upset. He's quite confused about how to play football."

If Harrison retires, there will be little confusion about one thing:

He'll be obligated to pay back more than $6 million to the Steelers, the remaining prorated portion of the $10 million signing bonus he received last year.

Can he "actually play by NFL rules and still be effective"?

Well, if he can't, he shouldn't be playing in the NFL.
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