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Troy Polamalu says paranoia prevalent

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu had some choice words for commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday.

Polamalu was critical of the league's crackdown on illegal hits and said Goodell has too much power.

"He's got all the power, and that may be part of the problem. There needs to be some type of separation of power, like our government," Polamalu said. "I don't think it should be based totally on what two or three people may say that are totally away from the game. It should be some of the players that are currently playing."

Since the NFL announced its stricter policy, Polamalu said, "There is definitely a paranoia that is unneeded. Just because we had a few weekends ago, I think somebody said, five [suspect] hits out of 1,000. Yeah, I think there is too much paranoia."

Polamalu also believes the NFL's stance could lessen the sport's popularity in Europe, where the 49ers and Broncos played on Sunday. The NFL is aggressively marketing its game overseas, with talk that London could have a franchise within 10 years.

"If people want to watch soccer, they can watch soccer. The people who are attracted to this game, they're going to see the big hits, they don't care about touchdowns," Polamalu said. "So you're also taking apart what attracts people to this game."

Polamalu's comments come after teammate James Harrison was fined for the third time this season for an illegal hit. The NFL fined the Steelers linebacker $20,000, bringing Harrison's season total to $100,000 in fines.

Harrison met with Goodell this week at the commissioner's behest. Harrison called the meeting "semi-productive."

"It was just for him to hear my side of things and for them to help me understand exactly what the rules are as far as helmet-to-helmet contact," Harrison said Wednesday. "So I spoke my mind. They said what they had to say. We had a semi-productive meeting, I guess. ... I came away with a better understanding, and I think they got a better understanding of how I see things."

Harrison said he is appealing a $75,000 fine he was given for an Oct. 17 hit on Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi.

Polamalu said having his own meeting with Goodell probably wouldn't solve anything.

"Sometimes I think it just falls on deaf ears," Polamalu said. "I think a lot of players have said a lot of things that I guarantee you he heard. ... I don't think there's any confusion. I just think the problem is they're wrong."

The NFL has said it is attempting to protect the players, but Polamalu disagrees with the crackdown.

"Do players need more protection? I don't know," Polamalu said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I think in certain instances, yeah, but I don't think you can just completely make every type of hit obsolete, from horse collar tackling to whatever kind of tackling it is. You just can't control some of these factors.

"Like James' [Harrison] big problem was, If I'm aiming for his chest and he lowers his head, that shouldn't be a fineable hit."

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.