Video shows Tomlin before kickoff; coach takes blame for actions
Mike Tomlin opened his press conference by calling the incident 'Embarrassing, inexcusable, illegal, a blunder,' adding, 'I take full responsibility for my actions on that play.'
Here's what we know: Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had his right foot on the field and impeded the progress of Ravens returner Jacoby Jones. He has insisted that it was unintentional, telling FOXSports.com's Jay Glazer, "If anybody thinks I or anybody else would do this on purpose they are crazy."
On Monday, KDKA released a video that showed Tomlin stepping toward the field of play as Jones approached. Now with the All-22 view available via NFL.com's Game Rewind, we can see where Tomlin was prior to the kickoff:
As Shaun Suisham makes his run up to the football for the kickoff, you can see Tomlin on the right side of the screen near the 50-yard line. His back is to the play, and he maneuvers himself around the official on his way to his final position straddling the white line and the field of play.
Unless Tomlin knew before the ball left Suisham's foot that Jones would be running down the left side of the field, it's hard to make the case that he deliberately tried to intervene.
Either way, the conspiracy theorists aren't easily dissuaded and Tomlin will be punished, something he fully accepts.
He opened his Tuesday press conference by calling the incident "Embarrassing, inexcusable, illegal, a blunder," adding, “I take full responsibility for my actions. 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.”
Tomlin said he spoke with commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday, and he has also been in touch with Merton Hanks and Ray Anderson, the two men in the league office who will decide his fate.
Asked what he felt would be a fair discpiline, Tomlin admitted he wasn't sure.
“I don’t know what a just punishment is,” he said, via the Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson. “I’m not nervous about it. My money and wallet is what it is because of football.”
Tomlin: "I did see the Soul Train Picture, that was interesting. I heard all the jokes and I got it coming.''— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) December 3, 2013
Those weren't the only memes...
All that's left is for the league to weigh in. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reports that Tomlin and the Steelers could face a hefty fine though it is unlikely that the coach is suspended.
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