this Nov. 28, 2013 file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers
head coach Mike Tomlin gestures toward his players
in the second half of an NFL football game against
the Baltimore Ravens, in Baltimore. Tomlin says he's
embarrassed about his unintentional but inexcusable
foray onto the field in last Thursday night's loss
— Mike Tomlin was "mesmerized."
also, the Pittsburgh Steelers coach admits, out of
was so awed by the way Baltimore's Jacoby Jones raced
through the Steelers crumbling kickoff return unit in the
third quarter Thanksgiving night, Tomlin couldn't take
himself away from watching it all unfold in high
definition on one of M&T Stadium's video boards.
Tomlin — standing on the white strip of grass meant to
separate the playing field from the sideline — saw his
black-and-gold jacket and black baseball cap flash across
the screen did he realize it might be a good time to move.
danced to his left, Jones edged right to avoid bowling the
coach over. Pittsburgh's Cortez Allen made the tackle
after a 73-yard return, a bizarre play that will be
remembered far longer than Baltimore's eventual 22-20
ill-timed two-step the 41-year-old Tomlin allows was a lot
of things, namely "embarrassing, inexcusable, illegal
and a blunder."
thing it wasn't, he insists, was intentional.
thought that it could be perceived as intentional never
even crossed my mind," Tomlin said Tuesday during a
lengthy and candid apology. "I realized I fell short
of the expectations of my position in being where I was
and my actions on the play. I am not one to seek comfort
from that standpoint, so I was just going to take my
was not flagged on the play, and pointed out he was
following his normal routine when he stood at the
Pittsburgh 35 following a touchdown that pulled the
Steelers within 13-7 midway through the third quarter. He
prefers to watch kickoffs on stadium scoreboards because
it gives him a better perspective on how the play is
developing and couldn't recall a specific time when
officials told him to step back.
Tomlin declined to use that as an excuse while
communicating with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and
other league officials Monday. Tomlin said he had no plans
to fight whatever disciplinary action the league decides
to hand out.
don't know what a just punishment is," he said.
"I have no idea. I'm not acting in a way to preserve
my wallet and my money. My wallet and my money is what it
is because of the game of football."
fined the New York Jets $100,000 in 2010 when cameras
caught strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi tripping
a Miami player on the sideline. Alosi was suspended by the
Jets and eventually resigned after the season.
Tomlin's job status is certainly not in jeopardy, he is
aware critics believe he was attempting to gain a
competitive advantage. It's why he felt the need to speak
been shocking to me that my actions could have been or
have been perceived in any way intentional," he said.
why Tomlin was a little surprised his sons told him the
incident kept coming up during the usual Sunday NFL TV
I realized the integrity of the game became the chief
issue in the discussion, it was an opportunity and the
time was appropriate to set the record straight," he
acknowledged there was a memo sent out by the league last
week asking coaches to be more mindful of where they stand
on the sideline. He said he might have missed it because
the Steelers were facing the Ravens on a short week.
he stressed he will do a better job "policing"
himself in the future and stay out of harm's way. He still
plans on watching kickoffs on video boards. He just plans
to do it from a safer (and legal) vantage point.
whether his public expression of remorse could have any
effect on whatever fine is coming his way, Tomlin
considered it the least of his problems.
guess, he said, "we will all make due."