Thursday afternoon, James Harrison was on the Barstool Sports “Going Deep” podcast to discuss his former playing days with the Pittsburgh Steelers with his old teammate Willie Colon.
During the interview Harrison told the story of how he had received an “envelope” from head coach Mike Tomlin after his hit on Cleveland Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. Harrison was eventually fined $75,000 for the hit on the Browns wideout.
While some thought Harrison’s comments were about Tomlin handing him money for the fine, the better assumption was the Steelers could have had a program in place for defenders knocking players out of the game, similar to the “Bounty Gate” scandal with the New Orleans Saints.
Many across the NFL landscape are speculating, but Steelers President Art Rooney II decided to try and get ahead of the rumors by releasing a statement.
Check out the statement below, via ProFootballTalk:
Steelers president Art Rooney II, on James Harrison's claim that he received "an envelope" from Mike Tomlin: "I am very certain nothing like this ever happened. I have no idea why James would make a comment like this but there is simply no basis for believing anything like this."— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) May 14, 2020
The statement reads:
“I am very certain nothing like this ever happened. I have no idea why James would make a comment like this but there is simply no basis for believing anything like this.”
This would be expected from the team owner/president, but James Harrison’s agent, Bill Parise, took it a step further when he was asked if he had any knowing of Harrison receiving payment for dirty hits.
“Absolutely not. Never happened,” agent Bill Parise told Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I would have known that. It didn’t happen.”
Just recently, Harrison added more details to the situation via his Instagram account and vehemently denies any comparison to “Bountygate.”
View this post on Instagram
Wow y'all really comparing what I said to BOUNTYGATE?!? Mike T. Has NEVER paid me for hurting someone or TRYING to hurt someone or put a bounty on ANYBODY! If you knew the full story of what happened back then you'd know that BS fine for a Legal Play wasn't even penalized during the game. The league was getting pressure because the first concussion lawsuits were starting and they had to look like they cared about player safety all of a sudden. Before that they had been SELLING a photo of THAT SAME PLAY FOR $55 on the NFL website with other videos of the NFL'S GREATEST HITS that the league Profited On back then. When the league had to start pretending like they cared about player safety they took all those things down off their website and they started fining guys ridiculous amounts for the same plays they used to profit off of. EVERYBODY knew it - even these same media people and all the fans that were sending money to me and the team to cover the fine. AGAIN AT NO TIME did Mike T. EVER suggest anybody hurt anybody or that they'd be rewarded for anything like that. GTFOH with that BS!!! #receipts
For Steelers fans, this is one of those stories which you wish would just go away, but the fact remains this is far from over. Could Roger Goodell and the NFL look into this and do a full-blown investigation? It is possible.
In other words, stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the 2020 regular season.