NFL

James Harrison Creates an Issue for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Says Wild Stuff

Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison had a few things to say late last week. Amazingly, implying that coach Mike Tomlin paid a portion of Harrison’s fine for an illegal hit only rates third on the list of jaw-droppers from the interview.

James Harrison puts the Pittsburgh Steelers in hot water

Appearing on the “Going Deep” podcast, retired linebacker James Harrison strongly implied that Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin picked up the tab for some or all of the fine Harrison was assessed for his helmet-to-helmet hit on wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi of the Cleveland Browns in 2010.

The subject came up when Harrison, who was hit with numerous penalties and fines throughout his 15-season NFL career, was asked by host Willie Colon about the biggest fine he paid. Harrison said the Massaquoi collision resulted in a $75,000 fine from the NFL office, though he insisted at the time it was a clean play.

According to Harrison, Tomlin apparently also thought the hit was legal.

“I ain’t going to lie to you. When that happened, right? The G-est thing Mike Tomlin ever did, he handed me an envelope after that,” Harrison said. “I ain’t going to say what, but he handed me an envelope after that.”

Harrison didn’t finish the thought – and he didn’t have to. It’s fairly certain that what he said will result in Tomlin getting a phone call from the league office, perhaps with a request to look at his bank statements from 2010 on the off chance that there might be a five-figure withdrawal by the Pittsburgh Steelers coach that looks out of place.

James Harrison had more to say about the hit

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If hinting at a payment from Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was the most interesting part of the interview, it didn’t qualify as the most outrageous thing James Harrison said about the big hit on Cleveland Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi.

Massaquoi was drafted in 2009 and was out of the NFL after the 2012 season. To hear Harrison tell it, the wideout was lucky to survive the big hit with just a concussion.

“Listen, everything I love, on my daddy’s grave, I hit that man with about, max, 50 percent of what I had, and I just hit because I wanted him to let loose of the ball,” Harrison said. “If I had known they were going to fine me $75,000, I would have tried to kill him. Dude, I’m telling you, 75?”

That little admission would have earned Harrison another fine and possibly a suspension during his career, which included stints with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, and New England Patriots.

Harrison finished with 84.5 sacks and eight interceptions in 193 career games.

One more bombshell during the podcast

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Since he was already on a roll, James Harrison threw in one more bit of information that had to pique the interest of football fans – even if it seemed to be the least credible claim he made in the “Going Deep” podcast.

Harrison made reference in the interview to an understanding he worked out with certain wide receivers. In return from Harrison hitting high rather than potentially taking out their knees or ankles, the two-time first-team All-Pro for the Pittsburgh Steelers alleged that receivers agreed to reimburse him for any fines he incurred.