3 & Out: Ravens control their playoff destiny
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has been fined $100,000 by the NFL, and the Steelers face the possible loss or adjustment of draft picks following the season, the league announced Wednesday. Tomlin was fined for interfering with Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones during a kickoff return Thursday night. Tomlin was well within the restricted white border as Jones approached, with one foot actually on the field of play. Jones was forced to alter his path as he passed by, and was caught from behind by Cortez Allen of the Steelers. No penalty was called, and the league also said that the Steelers should have been flagged 15 yards on the play for unsportsmanlike conduct.
By escaping a suspension, Tomlin will be on the sideline Sunday when the Steelers host the Dolphins.
According to the league’s announcement, because Tomlin’s conduct affected a play on the field, a modification or forfeiture of draft choices will be considered after the order of the 2014 draft is finalized.
Tomlin was contrite during a Tuesday press conference, describing his actions among other things “embarrassing, illegal, and inexcusable.” However, Tomlin insisted that he had not intentionally obstructed Jones. Tomlin said he was simply “mesmerized” watching the return on the M & T Bank Stadium Jumbo-tron, and lost his placement on the field as Jones approached.
“The thing that gave me the indication that I was potentially in the way is that I saw myself come into the Jumbo-tron,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “That’s a frightening experience, an embarrassing experience. That’s really why I moved in the manner in which I moved.”
But when asked about intentionally obstructing Jones, Tomlin said, “I would never do such a thing.” Tomlin also said he hoped that he alone would be punished, not the Steelers.
However, the league clearly wanted to send a message that coaches should be on the sideline, not the field. Only Tomlin knows what he was thinking as Jones was running back the kickoff. But Tomlin’s mistake has proven to be costly.
Following the league’s announcement, the Steelers issued a statement from Tomlin that said, “As I stated yesterday, I take full responsibilities for my actions, and I apologize for causing negative attention to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. I accept the penalty that I received. I will no longer address this issue as I am preparing for an important game this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. “