The NFL has fined Steelers coach Mike Tomlin $100,000 for interfering in Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones' kickoff return last Thursday, and according to a league release, "in addition, because the conduct affected a play on the field, a modification or forfeiture of draft choices will be considered after the final order of the 2014 draft has been determined."
Basically, as expected, the NFL has come down hard on Tomlin, though the league also decided a suspension wasn't in order.
A day after the league's vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said Tomlin should have been flagged on the play, this discipline was issued by Ray Anderson, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations.
"As I stated yesterday, I take full responsibility for my actions, and I apologize for causing negative attention to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization," Tomlin said in a statement released after the NFL's punishment was announced. "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."
As the league points out, Tomlin violated Rule 13, Section 1, Article 4 of the NFL Rule Book and that Tomlin was "in the restricted white border that surrounds the playing field and stepped foot onto the playing field during the play."
While some have accused Tomlin of deliberately impeding Jones' path to the end zone -- Jones himself said he swerved to avoid Tomlin before he was caught by the Steelers -- the Steelers coach discussed the situation at length during his Tuesday news conference.
“I take full responsibility for my actions," he said. "I understand there are repercussions that come with a blunder of that nature. With my position comes the charge of preserving and protecting the integrity of football.
“That play jeopardized the integrity of the NFL from a competition standpoint," he continued. "That's a mistake on my part. I was focused on the blunder itself and the embarrassment it produced. As a head coach in this league we are held to a higher standard of conduct. Based on that, my actions were below the line.”
Asked what he thought a fair punishment would be, Tomlin said, "“I don't know what a just punishment is. I'm not nervous about it. My money and wallet is what it is because of football.”
Luckily for Tomlin and the Steelers, the organization as a whole wasn't punished, and he won't lose any games because of the suspension. Actually, a $100,000 fine almost seems like a best-case scenario for Tomlin, as long as the NFL doesn't actually take away a draft pick.
So, where does this punishment stand with other six-figure fines that have been handed out by the NFL in the past?
Mike Tomlin's $100K fine is 4th reported fine of $100K or larger given to an NFL coach. Only bigger was Belichick's $500K fine for Spygate.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 4, 2013
Another issue, though, is Tomlin's standing on the league's competition committee. The NFL didn't say anything about that in the release, but it stands to reason that Tomlin likely will keep his place, assuming the league truly believes Tomlin when he says the incident was accidental.
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