According to ChicagoBears.com, defensive tackle Tommie Harris was suspended for the Detroit Lions game this Sunday for violating an unspecified team rule.
“It’s always disappointing when you have to suspend one of your players, but nothing’s bigger than the team,” head coach Lovie Smith said.
It was unclear whether Harris would have been able to play on his injured knee, anyway. Lovie seemed to think he would have been ready.
“Last week he was close, so I assume he would have been able to,” Smith said.
This incident — whatever it may be — obviously showed some poor judgment from a player who got a big contract this off-season and is widely respected throughout the locker room. Harris has also been called “the best player on the defense” when healthy, most recently by Mike Brown. For him to be getting into trouble with the team doesn’t show a lot of character.
As it pertains to the game, Harris’ absence will have little effect on the game. The Bears are favored to win this game and they should be able to plug in Israel Idonije, Marcus Harrison, and Anthony Adams and pick up right where they left off last week against the Eagles.
UPDATE: After reading a blog post on Chicago Tribune’s web site, this doesn’t sound like an isolated incident. This has the makings of a downward spiral and escalated problem if Harris doesn’t get his head on straight.
Said Harris, “If you put being suspended on someone’s [NFL] record, that’s like having a felony on someone’s record who is trying to get a regular job.”
Harris apparently has been having personal problems from dealing with the release of his friend, Mark Bradley, to having a child out of wedlock.
“If I’m not coming to treatment or if I’m not doing all these other things, my approach if I had a player would be, “What’s going on? Is everything OK? I wouldn’t punish and think that this punishment is going to help him. I would try to help this player.
“Suspending me is not going to help my [personal] problems. You actually just put more on what I’m going through.”