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ESPN: Safety Rodney Harrison suspended for four games

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Harrison Suspended 4 Games
Admits to Feds He Obtained HGH

According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison will be suspended for the first four games of the season.

Mortensen said Harrison admitted to federal investigators that he obtained Human Growth Hormone (known as HGH). Mortensen said that Harrison had a hearing with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday. Mortensen said the Patriots will probably announce the suspension tomorrow.

From Mortensen:

The admission by Harrison has never been made public but his name was among those known to federal and New York state investigators that conducted a two-year investigation into an Internet pharmaceutical distribution ring for steroids and other performance enhancers such as HGH.

Investigators have discovered several athletes across many sports whose names were linked in the probe. Sources say at least one NFL assistant also has been questioned.

The revelation means rookie Brandon Meriweather may be slotted more deeply at safety instead of splitting time or devoting all to cornerback. Moreover, either Meriweather or James Sanders will start in place of Harrison with Eugene Wilson in the other starting safety spot.

If you're looking for a silver lining, at least Harrison won't get hurt playing in September.

Update [2007-8-31 21:16:11 by tommasse]:
According to the Boston Herald's Albert Breer, Harrison's agent Steve Feldman said he had yet to hear of the suspension.

Another note from Mortensen's report: A league official would not comment, and neither Harrison nor the Patriots were reachable.

Update [2007-8-31 21:28:19 by tommasse]:
Harrison could appeal the suspension; otherwise, it would begin immediately. Unless Mortensen has it wrong, it's unlikely Harrison will appeal, and he'll miss all four Patriots games in September. There's not much sense missing games in the middle or end of the season.

Update [2007-8-31 21:44:30 by tommasse]:
ESPN has fleshed out their story, adding that Len Pasquarelli reached a team source who said that "the team is aware of the sanction against the 13-year veteran and is 'dealing with it.'" Pasquarelli said the source would not say when the team became aware of the imminent action by the league.

There is also more detail regarding the investigation that involves people in at least New York, Florida and Georgia, including an NFL team physician who claims to have obtained HGH for legitimate prescriptions.

According to ESPN, Harrison's suspension will cost him $470,588 of his $2 million 2007 base salary.

A minor glimmer of hope is that the reports say Harrison "obtained" HGH but nothing about him admitting use.

Poll

How much will Rodney Harrison's suspension affect the Patriots?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    It's devastating! All is lost!
    (3 votes)
  • 16%
    It's bad, and it could put New England in an early hole.
    (4 votes)
  • 50%
    It's important, but not the end of the world.
    (12 votes)
  • 20%
    It's no big deal. The Patriots are plenty deep to survive 4 weeks.
    (5 votes)
24 votes total Vote Now