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Saints coach Sean Payton chimes in on Mike Tomlin paying James Harrison’s fine for illegal hit

Sean Payton, Steelers, Saints, James Harrison, Mike Tomlin

Sean Payton is livid. The New Orleans Saints head coach expressed his dismay in response to James Harrison alluding to the public that the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin paid for his 2010 fine as a result of the linebacker’s big hit on then-Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. 

“I ain’t going to lie to you. When that happened, right? The G-est thing [head coach] Mike Tomlin ever did, he handed me an envelope after that. I ain’t going to say what, but he handed me an envelope after that,” said Harrison on Going Deep Podcast Thursday afternoon.

Payton was among the key figures heavily sanctioned by the NFL for their participation in the infamous Bountygate scandal. As part of his punishment, Payton was suspended without pay for the 2012 season.  

“Listen, don’t get me started on that,” said Payton on 105.7 The Fan. “I lost $6M 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 further stated his discontent due to the lack of coaches’ representation in the league.

“The players were vindicated, but from a league or coaching standpoint, there is no union. I think what took place with us back in 2011 in so many ways was a sham, and yet there wasn’t a lot we could do with it.”

The Saints head coach doubled down on his claim that players, especially on big-name teams, get preferential treatment from the NFL.

“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 or under the rug at Park Avenue. They’ll look into it briefly.” 

Steelers president Art Rooney II has already denied Harrison’s claims later in the day.