PITTSBURGH - Midweek news and commentary:
n The NFL fines Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison $75,000 for a vicious hit on Cleveland receiver Mohammed Massaquoi.
If the same thing happens in the future, Harrison could be suspended, per a new policy announced by the league on Tuesday.
Blows to the head are a serious business in a league that's concerned about long-term brain damage to players.
There's a considerable risk in playing football, which the players understand. But the risk has been increasing, and that's not just because players are bigger, faster and stronger.
Techniques have changed over the years. Tacklers used to be instructed to go after the numbers on the ball carrier's jersey. They were then taught to wrap up the player with their arms.
Too many players launch themselves at opponents. They're attempting a collision rather than a tackle.
It works most of the time, but it can also miss and leave the ball carrier upright while the would-be tackler is on the ground.
The problem here is deeper than an aggressive player looking to make a highlight reel hit on an opponent.
Coaches have to get involved, requiring that players return to a more traditional method of tackling.
In the meantime, the NFL will get the attention of players with fines and suspensions.
Football is tough enough when it's played within the rules.
n The Pittsburgh Penguins are on a roll.
It took a while to get started, but they've now won three straight games and four of five.
More importantly, they're playing well at both ends of the ice. Back-up Brent Johnson is providing solid goaltending in place of the struggling Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Penguins need this momentum as they head out on a three-game trip, the start of a stretch that has them playing seven of their next eight games on the road.
They should get injured players Brooks Orpik and Arron Asham back during the upcoming trip, so things are looking positive.
Maybe the panic over the 1-3 start wasn't really necessary.
n The Texas Rangers are trying to upset the New York Yankees in the American League playoffs.
What a payoff a World Series would be for new owner Chuck Greenberg.
Mehno can be reached at: email@example.com. His weblog is at altoonamirror.com