Former Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison is clarifying his controversial claim that head coach Mike Tomlin handed him an envelope after a violent hit.
Harrison took to Instagram Friday, strongly denying Tomlin ever compensated him for injuring an opposing player.
“Mike T. Has NEVER paid me for hurting someone or TRYING to hurt someone or put a bounty on ANYBODY,” he wrote.
The hit in question was one of the most violent of Harrison’s career, when he leveled Cleveland Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi back in 2010, concussing the wideout. The hit resulted in a whopping $75,000 fine.
Harrison doubled down that the hit was clean, and that he never should have been punished in the first place.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Harrison added that the NFL sold pictures of the hit in question, and that it was included in a DVD compilation of the league’s hardest hits.
He ended the post by again denying that the Tomlin and the Steelers were ever involved in a bounty system. Many likened Harrison’s anecdote to the “Bountygate” scandal that slammed the New Orleans Saints in 2012.
“AGAIN AT NO TIME did Mike T. EVER suggest anybody hurt anybody or that they’d be rewarded for anything like that. GTFOH with that BS!!!”
The uproar started when Harrison joined the “Going Deep” podcast last Thursday, mentioning that Tomlin gave him an envelope shortly after the Massaquoi hit. He declined to reveal the contents of the envelope.
Recognizing the seriousness of Harrison’s claim, Steelers President Art Rooney II made a statement Thursday evening denying the allegation.
“I am very certain nothing like this ever happened,” he said. “I have no idea why James would make a comment like this but there is simply no basis for believing anything like this.”
The league has not yet commented on the situation.
Harrison won two Super Bowls and was selected to the Pro Bowl five times over his 14 years in Pittsburgh.
Steelers QB Josh Dobbs Working with NASA for 2nd Straight Year
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Josh Dobbs is joining the NASA Kennedy Space Flight Center for the second straight offseason.
The collaboration is a part of the NFLPA’s virtual Externship program, which provides players with professional development experiences to prepare them for their careers after football.
Dobbs is part of an exclusive group of just 52 players participating in the program. His placement with NASA will last through the end of March.
“We believe that this year’s virtual Externship experience will provide our player members with a unique opportunity to broaden their knowledge, skillset and network in new, innovative ways that will serve them well during life after football,” NFLPA Player Manager Connor Ford said.
Dobbs’ mental acumen is well-documented, as the quarterback left the University of Tennessee with a degree in aerospace engineering in 2017.
Steelers RB Trey Edmunds Shares Love of Reading with Local Students
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Trey Edmunds has been a lifelong lover of reading, a passion he shared with local students on Tuesday’s celebration of Read Across America Day.
Edmunds joined students at Pittsburgh Faison for a virtual assembly and read New York Times best seller, What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada.
“I am blessed and humbled to be amongst you guys today and to represent another part of the community and be able to read to you,” Edmunds told Steelers.com. “I am so happy to be here today. What I do want to say is I was in some of the same positions as you guys. I grew up listening to people come back and read to me. Some of those same people I have been in contact with many years later. Some of those same things they have read to me, I have had the privilege of reading to some of the people I mentor, some of the young people in my life, whether it’s cousins, nephews. I am extremely happy today.”
Edmunds also surprised the student with a copy of his own book My Brother’s Keeper – What This Means to Me…, written alongside with his brothers Terrell and Tremaine. Terrell is a safety for Pittsburgh, while Tremaine is a standout linebacker for the Buffalo Bills.
Edmunds’ love of reading came from his mother Felicia, who as an educator, always championed the important of the skill.
“My mother is an elementary school teacher, so she had me doing all of that stuff when I was in high school, college, as a matter of fact I have to go to her school to read for the month of March,” he told Steelers.com. “It keeps me on my toes, attentive. I am a big reader myself, so when I get the opportunity to read to kids, I like that type of interaction.”
Should Steelers Sign Zach Banner to be Starter in 2021?
Zach Banner has become a prominent member of the Steelers, but that’s not because he’s had success on the field over the past year. Banner’s success has come off the field by connecting with fans on social media and doing his part to help those in need than he has on a football field. But by no means is that Banner’s fault.
He suffered a season ending torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This injury was especially devastating for the USC product because it occurred on the heels of Banner winning the starting right tackle position following a tough training camp battle with Chukwuma Okorafor.
Due to Banner’s injury, it was Okorafor who ended up starting 16 games, including the postseason. While Banner kept in good spirits and became his team’s loudest cheerleader on Twitter during games, it was clear he wanted to be on the field and contributing.
Earning a starting spot as a member of the Steelers offensive line was a major career achievement for Banner, but it was one he didn’t get to enjoy. With Banner expected to be ready for a return next season, should the Steelers sign the 27-year-old with the anticipation that he could be a key piece to bolster the offensive line that was missing during the 2020 season?
Best exit interview ever… Back to work…
— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) January 14, 2021
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