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NFL notes: Steelers' Tomlin insists sideline wandering unintentional

Published December 3, 2013 11:21 pm

NFL notes • Steelers coach says he'll accept whatever punishment the league hands out.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Mike Tomlin was "mesmerized."

He was also, the Pittsburgh Steelers coach admits, out of position.

Way out of position.

Tomlin 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.

Only when 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.

Too late.

As Tomlin 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 victory.

It's an ill-timed two-step the 41-year-old Tomlin allows was a lot of things, namely "embarrassing, inexcusable, illegal and a blunder."

The one thing it wasn't, he insists, was intentional.

"The 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 medicine."

Tomlin said he had no plans to fight whatever disciplinary action the league decides to hand out.

"I 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."

The NFL 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.

Around the league

Packers • Green Bay isn't ruling out Aaron Rodgers even though the star quarterback hasn't yet been medically cleared to play since breaking his left collarbone a month ago. Coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers will practice in a limited fashion Wednesday but backup Matt Flynn will take the starter's snaps.

Jets • New York placed kick returner-wide receiver Josh Cribbs on injured reserve and signed former Tennessee kick returner Darius Reynaud to replace him. Cribbs injured his right shoulder in the Jets' 23-3 loss to Miami on Sunday. Coach Rex Ryan said Monday that the injury appeared "pretty serious."

Browns • With Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell recovering from concussions, Cleveland signed quarterback Caleb Hanie, giving coach Rob Chudzinski another option this week at New England. —

Week 14 schedule

Thursday

Houston at Jacksonville, 6:25 p.m., NFL

Sunday

Atlanta at Green Bay, 11 a.m.

Minnesota at Baltimore, 11 a.m., Ch. 13

Kansas City at Washington, 11 a.m.

Buffalo at Tampa Bay, 11 a.m.

Miami at Pittsburgh, 11 a.m.

Detroit at Philadelphia, 11 a.m.

Indianapolis at Cincinnati, 11 a.m.

Cleveland at New England, 11 a.m.

Oakland at N.Y. Jets, 11 a.m.

Tennessee at Denver, 2:05 p.m., Ch. 2

Seattle at San Francisco, 2:25 p.m.

N.Y. Giants at San Diego, 2:25 p.m.

St. Louis at Arizona, 2:25 p.m.

Carolina at New Orleans, 6:30 p.m., Ch. 5

Monday

Dallas at Chicago, 6:40 p.m., ESPN