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Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Steelers’ Mike Tomlin Fined $100,000 For Interference

Mike_Tomlin_Tripping_Jacoby_Jones_Ravens_SteelersThe NFL fined Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin $100,000 for interfering in Baltimore Ravens Jacoby Jones’ kickoff during the Thanksgiving Day game.

“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,” according to a league release.

Basically, as expected, the NFL has come down hard on Tomlin, though it also decided that 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,  the disciplinary action 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 understand there are repercussions that come with a blunder of that nature,”  he said. “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.

About Curtis Bunn

Curtis Bunn is national award-winning sports journalist and best-selling novelist who has covered and written about sports' largest events and personalities for more than three decades at The Washington Times, NY Newsday, The New York Daily News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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