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#pounditTuesday, May 11, 2021

Sean Payton still sour about Bountygate, not expecting punishment for Mike Tomlin

Sean Payton

Former NFL linebacker James Harrison hinted this week that Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin paid him a cash reward for an illegal hit on an opposing receiver years ago. The claim immediately reminded people of the Bountygate scandal that rocked the New Orleans Saints organization prior to the 2012 season, but Sean Payton does not expect the NFL to look into it as diligently.

Harrison was fined $75,000 for a headshot on former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi in 2010, and he says Tomlin handed him an envelope after the game. During an interview with Jason La Canfora on 105.7 The Fan Thursday, Payton was asked if he thinks the NFL will look into it. He said he would be “shocked” and indicated that the league had an agenda when suspending him for the entire 2012 season.

Payton did not go into specifics, but he called Bountygate a “sham” and said he will never get over it because of “how it was handled and how it was run and the reasons behind it.” Obviously, he thinks there was some bias on the part of the NFL.

The Saints were punished so harshly in part because of the disturbing audio clips that appeared to feature former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams urging defensive players to severely injure opponents. If something like that were to surface involving Tomlin, the NFL would have no choice but to investigate. Harrison’s comment on a podcast probably won’t be enough.

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