Saints' Sean Payton doubts NFL will investigate James Harrison's envelope claims: 'Don't hold your breath'

Sporting News

Former Steelers linebacker James Harrison alleged Thursday that coach Mike Tomlin "handed me an envelope" after he was fined $75,000 for knocking out Browns receiver Mohamad Massaquoi in 2010.

Harrison, whose fine was later reduced to $50,000, made the allegation during an appearance on Barstool's "Going Deep" podcast. His claim has already prompted statements from his agent and the Steelers organization that no such event took place. They're not the only ones to have responded, either.

Saints coach Sean Payton, who was suspended for the entire 2012 season as a result of New Orleans' Bountygate scandal, said the NFL likely won't investigate Tomlin based simply off Harrison's claims.

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"If people are waiting for the league to investigate that, they shouldn't hold their breath," Payton said on Baltimore radio station 105.7 The Fan on Thursday. "I think what took place with us back in 2011 in so many ways was a sham, and yet there wasn't a lot we could do with it. The players were vindicated, but from a league or coaching standpoint, there is no union, there is no represenation."

Payton, of course, is referring to the way the NFL handled its investigation into the Saints' bounty scandal; the league found New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had instituted a bounty program from 2009 to 2011. He was suspended in 2012 as well before getting reinstated in 2013; he was hired by the Titans the same day as his reinstatement.

Four players involved with the Saints scandal — linebackers Jonathan Vilma and Scott Fujita, defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove and defensive end Will Smith — all faced suspensions that were later vacated.

"That'll be something that's tucked away or under the rug at Park Avenue," Payton said. "They'll look into it briefly. ... Listen, don't get me started on that. I lost $6 million in salary. And honestly it was something that I'll never truly get over because I know how it was handled and how it was run and the reasons behind it. And that's just the truth."

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