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The NFL denies any targeting of Steelers and/or James Harrison

Per NFL.com:

Ray Anderson, the NFL’s executive vice president for football operations, responded to claims by several Pittsburgh Steelers that the league is targeting the team, particularly linebacker James Harrison, in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday.

“I would say that’s misguided and, frankly, completely untrue,” Anderson said when asked if the Steelers are being targeted. “Every team and every player, hopefully, will have the confidence that, if they play within the rules, we won’t have this problem.”

Harrison was fined $25,000 this week for a helmet-leading hit on Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, running Harrison’s tab this season to $125,000 for four separate violations of the league’s policy on illegal hits. “It angers me, of course, that they’re taking absurd amounts of money from me for plays that I consider to be clean and legal hits,” Harrison said Wednesday. “I’m sure if you asked 10 guys in the league, nine of them would say he’s not a dirty player. He’s a hard player. He’s just getting a bad (reputation) right now.”

Anderson reiterated the league’s decree from earlier this season that those inflicting helmet-to-helmet or flagrant hits will be subject to suspension.

Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward lashed out at the NFL on Wednesday for what he calls its hypocritical stance on player safety, arguing the league recently toughened its stance only because it wants to expand to an 18-game season.

“The league doesn’t care about us anyway,” said Ward, a 13-year veteran and the leading receiver in Steelers history. “They don’t care about the safety of the game. If the league was so concerned about the safety, why are you adding two more games on? You talk about you don’t want players to drink … and all you see is beer commercials. You don’t want us to gamble, but then there are (NFL-endorsed lottery scratch-off games).”

Asked about Ward’s charge, Anderson said, “I have no comment to Hines Ward.”

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