Tomlin With Full Explanation

Mike Tomlin changed the normal procedure at his weekly press conference to fully address the sideline incident from the Thanksgiving night loss ...

... to the Baltimore Ravens that's become a hot topic of conversation and speculation.

To review, in the third quarter, following a Steelers touchdown that cut the Ravens' lead to 13-7, Tomlin stood at the edge of the sideline at his own 35 to watch the kickoff return by Jacoby Jones on the M&T Bank Stadium scoreboard.

Tomlin turned to see Jones closing on him and moved his right foot slightly into the field and jumped out of the way to the left. At the same time, Jones veered into the field and was tackled by the gaining Cortez Allen at the Pittsburgh 27.

The slow-motion replays were shown on the scoreboard "five to eight times" during two ensuing TV timeouts, according to the game's NBC-TV broadcasters. After the second TV timeout ended, Tomlin was captured on camera smiling, and the smile became a part of the edited replays over the holiday weekend.

Here's Tomlin's statement:

"My descriptions of my actions on that play are a lot of things: embarrassing, inexcusable, illegal, a blunder being many of the things I used to describe it. I take full responsibility for my actions on that play. I acknowledge that my actions unfortunately became part of the play. I also embrace that as head coaches we're held to the highest standards of conduct and I realize that that blunder fell woefully short of that expectation, and in that vein I embrace the responsibilities that come with my position and understand there are repercussions from a blunder of that nature, and I embrace it. And I also understand with my position comes the charge of preserving and protecting the integrity of the game of football.

"I think probably my biggest error on Thursday night was not realizing that that play jeopardized the integrity of the game from a perception standpoint. At no time Thursday night, in the game or after, did I realize that my actions could be perceived potentially as intentional, and that's a mistake on my part. As someone that's in my position who's supposed to preserve the integrity of the game of football, I should've realized the potential for that and acted accordingly. I didn't realize that potential. Really, I was focused on the blunder itself, the embarrassment it produced, and moving my football team past it. That was the number-one guiding influence of my actions. In not recognizing the potential of perception from that standpoint, I also fell short of the duties that come with my position.

"That being said, since I left the stadium it's been shocking to me that my actions have been perceived in any way intentional. Let's be clear. I have no desire to defend my character and things of that nature. I've become comfortable that with these positions you get judged in a certain way and to a certain degree you live a public lifestyle. I embraced that long ago.

"I will take this unfortunate incident, this blunder on my part, and do so with honor to stand up and champion our game and in particular the National Football League and the integrity of that. It's all that I have professionally. It's been very good to me in my life, and to be honest the winning of any game is not important enough for me to jeopardize that. Those that know me know that. I appreciate the support of those people. I also want them to know to stop calling me. I'm busy with this week's issues.

"But I am most concerned and will take this opportunity to talk about the great game that we have and the responsibility of us all to preserve and protect it, particularly the integrity of it. I would never do such a thing. I would never consider doing such a thing."

At the conclusion of his statement, Tomlin was asked several questions and repeated much of what he stated above. Some questions did produce additional information.

* On whether he has talked to anyone from the league office:

"I exchanged communications with the commissioner on Sunday. I talked to the commissioner on Monday. I talked to Ray Anderson and Merton Hanks (from the NFL office) on Monday in an effort to be as cooperative as I can be."

* On whether he expects punishment:

"Certainly I do. My behavior was inexcusable."

* On whether the league indicated the type of punishment:

"There was no indication and I didn't ask for any."

* On the breakdown of the play:

"It's standard procedure for me. And it was refreshing to hear when I talked to those guys that they did some investigative research on my procedure. Almost always when the ball's kicked off I'm right at the kickoff line in order to watch that. ... And generally once the ball is kicked off my eyes will go to the jumbotron. ... The thing that gave me the indication that I was potentially in the way was I saw myself come on to the jumbotron. That's a frightening experience, an embarrassing experience. But that's really why I moved in the manner in which I moved."

* On whether the Rooneys talked to him:

"They didn't. And that doesn't surprise me. I would imagine if the Rooneys thought I was capable of that, or if the Rooneys thought my intentions were that, I wouldn't be sitting at this table talking to you guys today."

* On moving to the right before jumping out of the way to the left:

"If you're standing as straight-legged as I was, it requires some bending and movement to the right in order to go left. I'm not as athletic as I used to be, or those guys that play. I did see the Soul Train picture (on the Internet). That was interesting."

NOTES -- Backup center Cody Wallace will start in place of Fernando Velasco, who underwent surgery Saturday on his Achilles' tendon. ... DE Brett Keisel (foot) is out, and LT Kelvin Beachum (right knee sprain) and RG David DeCastro (left foot sprain) are questionable for Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins. ... Reserve OT Mike Adams (left ankle sprain), RB Le'Veon Bell (concussion), NT Steve McLendon (left ankle sprain) and OLB LaMarr Woodley (calf) practiced on a limited basis Monday. ... Tomlin said he would consider swapping the sides of OLBs Woodley and Jason Worilds, but is more focused now on Woodley's health.


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