Steelers’ Art Rooney II reacts to James Harrison’s comments on Mike Tomlin
Pittsburgh Steelers team president Art Rooney II responded to former Steelers linebacker James Harrison’s assertion that head coach Mike Tomlin handed him an “envelope” after Harrison was fined $75,000 by the NFL in 2010.
Rooney said there is no truth to Harrison’s story about the Steelers, adding he is unsure as to why Harrison made the comment in the first place (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk):
“I am very certain nothing like this ever happened,” Rooney said in a statement from the Steelers to PFT. “I have no idea why James would make a comment like this but there is simply no basis for believing anything like this.”
Harrison’s fine stemmed from a hit on then-Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, one that rendered Massaquoi unconscious. While Harrison was not penalized as a member of the Steelers, he was later fined.
The two-time All-Pro said on Barstool Sports’ “Going Deep” podcast that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin handed him the envelope immediately after the fine, though Harrison did not specify what was in the envelope.
Naturally, Rooney and the Steelers would prefer to avoid an investigation, whether or not this incident actually occurred.
The last time the NFL dealt with something of this magnitude — Steelers fans might recall — was the “Bountygate” scandal in 2011, when the New Orleans Saints were judged to have been paying players to knock their opponents out of games.
“Bountygate” had serious ramifications for the Saints. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was initially suspended indefinitely. Head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entirety of the 2012 season, and GM Mickey Loomis was suspended for the first eight games.
The NFL has yet to release a statement on the matter. One wonders what Steelers fans think.