Tomlin Apologizes, Calls Incident Embarrassing, Illegal, A Blunder
PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — It’s video that’s been played over and over again.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin appears to step toward the field during last Thursday’s game as a Ravens player races down the sideline.
Whether it was intentional or accidental remains to be determined, but it is something a lot of people are talking about.
Tomlin addressed the incident himself this afternoon during his weekly press conference, calling his actions, “embarrassing,” “illegal” and “a blunder.”
He apologized at length, saying he did not want to jeopardize the integrity of the game by defending his “inexcusable” actions. Tomlin nearly collided with Ravens kick returner Jacoby Jones after lingering too close to the field of play in the third quarter of a 22-20 Baltimore win.
“My descriptions of my actions on that play are a lot of things – embarrassing, inexcusable, illegal, a blunder would be a myriad of things I use to describe it. I take full responsibility for my actions on that play,” said Tomlin. “I acknowledge that my actions unfortunately became part of the play. I also embrace that as head coach, we’re held to the highest standards of conduct and I realize that that blunder fell woefully short of that expectation; and in that vein, I embrace the responsibilities that come with my position and understand there are repercussions from a blunder of that nature, and I embrace it.
“I also understand with my position comes the charge of preserving and protecting the integrity of the game of football, and I think probably my biggest error on Thursday night is not realizing that that play jeopardized the integrity of the game from a perception standpoint,” Tomlin added.
He acknowledged that he tried to get out of the players way on the 73-yard return.
In another angle of the play shot exclusively by KDKA-TV photographer Michael Challik, you can see Tomlin actually take a side-step toward the field, where his foot ends up on the field of play.
He then jumps out of the way when he realized the Ravens’ kickoff return was heading his way.
Tomlin says he was watching the play on the jumbotron and got disoriented.
During the press conference, Tomlin said that his actions were not intentional.
The coach added he was “mesmerized” watching Jones’ long return and didn’t realize he was in danger of interfering with the play until it was too late.
The NFL will make the final determination on the play.
Tomlin said he has been in contact with NFL officials, including Commissioner Roger Goodell. He said he will accept any punishment from the league.
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