The Steelers have been under the microscope since former defender, James Harrison, claimed Mike Tomlin handed him an envelope after a violent hit on Mohamad Massaquoi. Will the NFL investigate?
James Harrison has been at the center of attention in NFL circles since news of his comments about Mike Tomlin did more than just raise eyebrows. The former Defensive Player of the Year recipient and Super Bowl-winning linebacker recently made some remarks that have many calling for an investigation into Tomlin and the Steelers.
Barstool Sports initially broke the news, with many other sites and writers expressing their thoughts immediately after. Here’s were some of James Harrison’s comments regarding his hit on a defenseless Mohammad Massaquoi, according to Mike Florio of NBC Sports:
"“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.”"
Whether implied or otherwise, Harrison was clearly hinting that the ‘envelope’ he received from Coach Tomlin was a check with his name on it. The NFL fined Harrison $75,000 for his hit on Massaquoi, and the All-Pro edge defender threatened to retire at the time.
Art Rooney II recently shot down Harrison’s claims as being completely false. While he agreed with Harrison at the time of the hit back in 2010 that he thought it was a legal play, he certainly isn’t pleased with Harrison’s latest remarks – completely shutting down his claims. Here’s what Rooney had to say, according to Florio:
"“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.”"
Obviously, there are two sides to every story. The question now is will the NFL choose to investigate?
New Orleans Saints head coach, Sean Payton, knows far too well what this kind of thing can do to a franchise. Back in 2012, the Saints were fined 500,000 dollars for “Bountygate,” and docked second-round picks in both 2012 and 2013.
However, he doesn’t seem to think the Steelers will receive the same treatment. Payton’s comments were captured by Jason La Canfora of 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore. Here’s what the Saints head coach had to say, according to another article by Mike Florio:
"“If people are waiting for the league to investigate that, they shouldn’t hold their breath… I would be shocked. That’ll be something that’s tucked away under the rug at Park Avenue. They’ll look into it briefly. Listen, don’t get me started on that. I lost $6 million in salary, and honestly it was something that I’ll never truly get over because I know how it was handled and how it was run and the reasons behind it. That’s just the truth.”"
Payton is clearly still sour about what happened back in 2012, and he seems to think this incident will get ‘tucked away under the rug.’ But are there any truth to Harrison’s claims to begin with?
Obviously, there are two sides to every story. As of now, it’s Harrison’s word against everyone else’s. This doesn’t mean the NFL won’t look into the ‘envelope’ ordeal, but it could be very hard for them to come away with any evidence a decade later and with Harrison as the only witness.
I don’t know if Mike Tomlin is the type of coach that would ever deal money under the table, but I certainly wouldn’t have thought that Sean Payton would have been either. Let’s hope this whole situation blows over fast and we can continue to move on with football.