James Harrison: “"Listen, on everything I love, on my daddy’s grave, I hit that man with about 50% of what I had and I just hit him because I wanted him to let loose of the ball. If I had known they was gonna fine me $75,000, I would have tried to kill him. 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." (Full Video Above)
Former NFL Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison made headlines on Thursday during an interview with Barstool Sports when he made disturbing allusions to possibly being paid by current Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin after his infamous hit on Cleveland Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi in 2010.
Harrison was fined $75,000 for the dirty hit on a defenseless Massaquoi, as Harrison had already knocked out Massaquoi's teammate Josh Cribbs earlier in the same game.
Harrison implied that he was rewarded for the hit by Tomlin:
“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."
The comments quickly went viral, as many who heard the remarks questioned whether Harrison may have accidentally admitted that the Steelers had their own version of ‘Bountygate’, as the New Orleans Saints were notoriously proven to have paid out bonuses to defensive players for injuring opponents between 2009 and 2011.
Saints head coach Sean Payton ended up being suspended for the entire 2012 season from the 'Bountygate' fallout.
Sensing the outrage, Harrison would quickly clarify his comments the best he could, saying Friday 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!"
Despite Harrison’s clarification, he failed to mention why he told Barstool Sports that Tomlin 'handed me an envelope’ after the Massaquoi hit, and what exactly he meant by that, since viewers obviously assumed he meant it was an envelope with money in it.
Payton himself was extremely frustrated with the news, saying that the league will simply turn a blind eye to Harrison’s bizarre admission, telling Jason Canfora on Friday that he doesn't think the Steelers will be investigated.
“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.”