Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has been the subject of controversial headlines this week after former NFL linebacker James Harrison hinted that the coach may have paid him for an illegal hit on an opponent, but Harrison insists that is not at all what happened.
During an appearance on Barstool Sports’ “Going Deep” podcast with Steven Cheah and former Steeler Willie Colon this week, Harrison spoke about the $75,000 fine he received for a vicious hit on former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi in 2010. He said Tomlin handed him an envelope after that game, though he did not specify what was inside. On Friday, Harrison took to Instagram to blast all the people who jumped to the conclusion that Tomlin was paying players to injure opponents.
Harrison ripped those who interpreted his comments to mean the Steelers were running a bounty system similar to the one the Saints were found guilty of implementing years ago. He insisted Tomlin “NEVER paid me for hurting someone or TRYING to hurt someone or put a bounty on ANYBODY!”
“If you knew the full story of what happened back then you’d know that BS fine for a Legal Play wasn’t even penalized during the game,” Harrison wrote. “The league was getting pressure because the first concussion lawsuits were starting and they had to look like they cared about player safety all of a sudden. Before that they had been SELLING a photo of THAT SAME PLAY FOR $55 on the NFL website with other videos of the NFL’S GREATEST HITS that the league Profited On back then.”
If Tomlin did give Harrison something, it may have been money to cover the fine because the coach thought it was unwarranted. That would be different from a coach urging players to severely injure opponents and giving them a cash reward for it, which is what the NFL determined was happening in New Orleans.
Either way, Harrison has no one to blame but himself for the backlash Tomlin is receiving. If he didn’t want to bring heat onto his former coach, he never should have mentioned the envelope.
James Harrison was fined numerous times throughout his NFL career for vicious hit on opposing players, but at least one of those shots may have earned him a reward from former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
Harrison was a guest on the “Going Deep” podcast with Steven Cheah and former Steeler Willie Colon this week. The former linebacker was asked about the largest fine he ever received for a hit, and he said it was when the NFL fined him $75,000 for his headshot on former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi in 2010. While the hit cost him a lot of money, Harrison hinted that Tomlin gave him a cash reward for it.
“I ain’t gonna lie to you — when that happened, the G’est thing Mike Tomlin ever did, he handed me an envelope after that,” Harrison said. “I ain’t gonna say what, but he handed me an envelope after that.”
Harrison would not confirm or deny that Tomlin gave him money, but that was certainly the implication. Perhaps Tomlin was trying to help Harrison cover the cost of the fine rather than rewarding him for the hit, but either way that is a big issue in the NFL.
We all remember what happened to the New Orleans Saints when they were found guilty of implementing a bounty system on opposing players. It’s too much of a leap to say Tomlin has done that with players, but Harrison’s story about getting an envelope for a ruthless hit certainly isn’t a good look for the Steelers coach.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison has never shied away from talking about his former teammates and coaches, sometimes critically. So it’s worth noting when he’s rather diplomatic about things.
That was his reaction to chatter about Ben Roethlisberger as a leader, with Harrison saying Monday that he found the quarterback to be “a good teammate and a good leader.”
This was James Harrison comment on Ben Roethlisberger from @TheHerd show today— "The people that are saying he's a bad teammate, that's their truth. For me, I think Ben is a good teammate and a good leader."
Antonio Brown could see his tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers come to a sour note the same way James Harrison’s did last year, so it is no surprise the former linebacker is going out of his way to support Brown amid a flurry of criticism.
While Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was holding a press conference on Wednesday to address some of the issues surrounding Brown and the team, the star wide receiver appeared on Harrison’s Instagram story and the two teased an upcoming “exclusive” interview.
Antonio Brown about to have an "exclusive interview" with former #Steelers LB James Harrison. [Via Instagram]
We’re still waiting on that interview, and it may never actually happen. However, Harrison did take to Instagram again on Thursday to write a lengthy post supporting Brown.
“(Antonio Brown) is my brother – that means family – and to me, a family member is not defined or measured by the deeds they do, the title they hold or the company they work for,” Harrison wrote. “My love and support for my brothers/family doesn’t stop when I disagree, argue or fight wt them. The fact that I consider you family means just the opposite, I’m there for you. And I’m allowed – not just allowed – I’m EXPECTED to be there for you and to give you my opinion whether you agree or disagree. And I expect you to give me yours as well. Why is AB hanging wt James Harrison? The same reason that Brett Keisel, Ike Taylor, Ryan Clark, Larry Foote, Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu, DeAngelo Williams, Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams, and others do… These are my brothers, and brothers shoot the s—!”
The fact that Brown was hanging out with Harrison and essentially bragging about it confirmed what we already knew — that Brown and Tomlin are at odds. Pittsburgh waived Harrison last year, and the longtime Steeler ripped Tomlin and the team for misleading him about what his role would be. He then signed with the rival New England Patriots and continued trying to make Tomlin look bad after he retired.
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward has had it with a prominent former teammate taking shots at coach Mike Tomlin in the media.
Former Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison, who played 14 seasons with the Steelers, said on FS1 Thursday that Tomlin deserved the blame for Pittsburgh’s potential playoff absence, arguing that the coach failed to make the most of a talented defense. Heyward wasn’t having that narrative.
“Right now, he is a mouthpiece. That’s it,” Heyward said, via Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “I couldn’t care less what he thinks. I don’t really care what James thinks right now (because) he’s not in this locker room and he’s not going to help us win if we talk about him.
“(Harrison) is the one bringing it up; nobody else is even talking about it. What’s his beef with him?”
James Harrison said some things during an interview on Thursday that won’t sit well with Pittsburgh Steelers fans.
Harrison, who played his entire career with the Steelers before joining the Patriots midway through last season, says New England’s coaching is better than Pittsburgh’s. Harrison made his comments during an appearance on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.”
“The only thing that’s really opposite is that in New England, it’s more regimented, it’s more disciplined,” said Harrison. “The coaching is better, to be honest with you. The plans they put together are better. And they don’t ask their players to do anything that’s outside of the realm of what they feel their capabilities are. So when you do that, and you switch a lot of players in and out for certain things that you want to get accomplished, you get things done and that’s what they have over there.
“I wanted to hate [Tom Brady] so bad, playing against him all those years and him getting the better of us for the most part of them, I wanted to hate him … I feel like [the Steelers system] needs to be more disciplined…”
"It's more regimented. It's more disciplined. The [Patriots] coaching is better to be honest with you. The plans they put together are better."@jharrison9292 on the differences between the Patriots and Steelers pic.twitter.com/bGW2Ej7uYa
That’s a huge endorsement for New England’s coaching staff, and it further explains why the team has been so successful under Bill Belichick. Especially consider that Harrison was a tough critic too because he entered the situation viewing the Patriots as a rival, as they had been for him his entire career. That makes his remarks carry even more weight.
The 40-year-old announced his retirement from the NFL and would probably have success with a career in broadcasting or coaching. We know one thing he probably won’t be doing in retirement — watching Steelers games.
James Harrison was able to contribute down the stretch for the New England Patriots last year despite rapidly closing in on his 40th birthday, and he could almost certainly find a team to sign him this offseason at the right price. However, he has decided to leave football in the rearview.
Harrison announced in an Instagram post on Monday that he is retiring. He indicated that spending more time with his family played the biggest role in his decision.
“I’ve missed way too much for way too long…and I’m done,” Harrison wrote. “Many thanks to my family, coaches, the fans, and everyone who played a role in my football life.”
Harrison spent 13 of his 15 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but his tenure with the team came to an ugly end last season when he was hardly getting any playing time and was eventually released. He then signed with the rival Patriots and ripped the Steelers with some harsh comments on more than one occasion.
For his career, Harrison totaled 84.5 sacks, 34 forced fumbles and 573 solo tackles. His best season came in 2008 when he had a whopping 16 sacks and seven forced fumbles, and he was one of the main reasons Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl that year.
The best players in sports don’t always have the highest salaries, and the Super Bowl is no different. For every Fletcher Cox, Alshon Jeffery and Stephon Gilmore making the big bucks, there are guys who made about $10 million less per year and still make a huge impact. For some of those players, big paydays will be coming this offseason. For others, being a bargain is part of what makes them so great.
Here are the 10 players from Super Bowl LII who are the biggest bargains for their team. All salary figures come courtesy of Spotrac.com.
10. Trey Flowers, DE, Patriots
Base salary: $615,000 Cap hit: $754,733
On a team that struggles to get to the quarterback, Flowers has emerged as the best pass-rusher. A fourth-round pick in 2015, Flowers sat out his entire rookie season with an injury but has consistently produced since. He had 6.5 sacks in the regular season this year after piling up seven a year ago, and he added two forced fumbles and 45 total tackles in 2017. He also helped stuff the run late in a comeback win over the Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game. If New England wants to make Nick Foles uncomfortable early on Sunday, Flowers may be the guy they look to.
Anything can happen in one single NFL game. Little-known players can have the game of their lives as they step up and play like a star. That’s true even in high-profile games like the Super Bowl. All you have to do is look at the list of MVPs for confirmation of that. You have your usual luminaries — Tom Brady has won the award four times, Eli Manning has claimed it twice, and Von Miller has his name on it as well. However, you can also spot lesser-known names like Dexter Jackson for Tampa Bay in 2003 and Malcolm Smith beating out everyone from the famed Legion of Boom to claim the honor in 2014 for the Seattle Seahawks. When the Patriots won the Super Bowl last season, it was James White with a huge game. In their victory over Seattle, Malcolm Butler stepped up with the play of the game.
Which under-the-radar players could take Super Bowl LII by storm? Here’s a look at ten candidates.
1) James White, RB, Patriots
White doesn’t get a ton of carries, but you’ll remember what he’s capable of if you watched last year’s Super Bowl. He’s the Patriots’ primary backfield receiving threat, and while he’s not going to get a ton of carries, only three Patriots had more receptions this season than White did. He’s already proven once that he’s capable of changing a playoff game. The Eagles will have to take care to ensure that he doesn’t do it to them as well.