Pittsburgh Steelers: Harrison Says Tomlin Handed Him an Envelope After Vicious 2010 Hit
The biggest drama in the AFC North this week came via a former Steelers legend. In an appearance on Barstool’s “Going Deep” podcast last week, James Harrison said Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin handed him an envelope after a vicious hit on Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi in 2010.
"The G-est thing Mike Tomlin ever did, he handed me an envelope after that hit on Massaquoi],” [Harrison said, via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. "I'm not going to say what, but he handed me an envelope after that."
Harrison was originally fined $75,000 for the hit, which was later reduced to $50,000. Last week, Harrison said if he had known he was going to have that stiff a penalty, "I would have tried to kill him."
Steelers President Art Rooney II issued a statement Thursday denying Harrison's claims about Tomlin's actions after the hit, and Harrison's advisor and former agent also said it "never happened."
"I am very certain nothing like this ever happened," Rooney said. "I have no idea why James would make a comment like this but there is simply no basis for believing anything like this."
One day later, after seeing the comment go viral, Harrison said Tomlin never paid him for the hit and that there wasn't a "Bountygate" system in place. Harrison did indicate that "media people" and fans were sending money to him and the team to cover the fine.
Cleveland Browns: Mayfield Works Out With Receivers in Texas
With COVID-19 keeping the Browns' practice facility closed, quarterback Baker Mayfield is taking matters into his own hands.
According to ESPN’s Jake Trotter, Mayfield invited some of his wide receivers and tight ends to his home in Austin, Texas to work out. The group includes tight ends Austin Hooper and David Njoku and wide receivers Rashard Higgins and Damion Ratley.
The idea reportedly originated with Hooper, who signed with the Browns in free agency this offseason. Starting wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are both rehabilitating from offseason surgery and didn't make the trip.
The Browns have the challenge of adapting to another new head coach, Kevin Stefanski, and new offensive coordinator, Alex Van Pelt, during an altered offseason where they can't be together. It's Mayfield's fourth head coach and offensive coordinator since being the No. 1-overall pick in 2018.
Cincinnati Bengals: 'Cornerstone' Left Tackle Set to Take the Field
The Bengals feel like they have not just one, but two, first-round picks taking the field on offense this year. Of course, all the attention has been on top-overall pick Joe Burrow. But the Bengals are also excited to give him a potential "cornerstone" blindside blocker, who was drafted with the 11th-overall selection last year.
Jonah Williams was a highly touted prospect coming out of Alabama, but suffered a shoulder injury during last year's offseason Bengals program that forced him to sit out his entire rookie season. He returned to the practice field last December and will be ready to go once practices resume this summer.
"It's like getting that first-round pick again," Bengals Offensive Coordinator Brian Callahan said, via AL.com’s Mark Inabinett. "It is nice to have him back in the fold. Obviously, a guy we felt like and feel like is going to be a cornerstone at left tackle for us."
Williams knows he has a big job on his hands protecting the Bengals' Burrow investment.
"Everybody is going to be watching me if I hinder him from doing his job," Williams said. "I don't take any pressure off myself. I think it's exciting. We, obviously, had a very active free agency, and picking up Joe and the other great players in the draft, there's a lot of excitement, a lot of new blood and a lot of new energy with a new, young coaching staff. It's exciting to be a part of it. It's cool to feel a part of it."