James Harrison: Steelers' Mike Tomlin Gave Me Envelope After Massaquoi Hit Fine

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2020

FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2010, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) hits Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (11) during the second quarter of a an NFL football game in Pittsburgh.  Harrison was fined $75,000 on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010, for his hit against Massaquoi. (AP Photo/Don Wright, File)
Don Wright/Associated Press

Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison made some eyebrow-raising comments about how head coach Mike Tomlin handled the aftermath of the player's 2010 fine following a hit on Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi.

Harrison was fined $75,000 for the concussion-inducing hit and addressed it during an appearance on Willie Colon's podcast, Going Deep (h/t Pete Smith of Sports Illustrated).

"Dude, I'm telling you...75?" he said. "And I ain't gonna lie to you, when that happened, right? The G-est thing Mike Tomlin ever did—he handed me an envelope after that. I ain't gonna say what, but he handed me an envelope after that."

While Harrison didn't specify what was in the envelope, it's easy to speculate that the coach gave the linebacker money to pay for the fine. Cynics might postulate Tomlin paid him for injuring an opposing player, a la the New Orleans Saints' Bountygate scandal that led to a one-year ban for head coach Sean Payton.

Steelers owner Art Rooney II released a statement via Dianna Russini of ESPN refuting the claim: 

Dianna Russini @diannaESPN

“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.” -Steelers President Art Rooney II

Harrison, 42, was known as a physical defender who dished out hard hits and often intimidated opponents.

He played for the Steelers for the first 10 years of his career before eventually joining the Cincinnati Bengals for the 2013 campaign. He played the next three years for Pittsburgh before splitting the 2017 campaign between the Steelers and New England Patriots.

The Kent State product was a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion who won Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 as a member of the Steelers.

Tomlin has been the head coach of the Steelers since the 2007 campaign.