Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin denied he was trying to affect Baltimore Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones’ return on Thursday, but a new video suggests he inched closer to the field on that play.
KDKA-TV released another angle of that play on Monday, and Tomlin actually takes a step toward the field as the kickoff return develops behind him. The KDKA-TV photographer filmed from the end zone, which made it easy to see the play unfold. It will not take a conspiracy theorist long to allege Tomlin knew exactly what he was doing on that play.
The NFL will determine Tomlin’s innocence, but this video is another example of why he reportedly might be disciplined.
ESPN reporter Adam Schefter said Tomlin is facing a potential six-figure fine, while the team could lose a draft pick because of what occurred on Thursday. However, Tomlin is not expected to be suspended by the league.
Tomlin, who was recently added to the competition committee, denied any wrongdoing after the Steelers were defeated.
“I always watch the returns on the jumbotron,” Tomlin told reporters after the game. “It provides a better perspective for me. I lost my placement as he broke free. I saw it at the last second and saw how close I was to the field of play.”
Tomlin was a lot closer to the play than he should have been, and Jones said the opposing coach affected his return on that play.
No matter what Tomlin says, he is definitely guilty of hindering Jones. The NFL’s biggest challenge is measuring Tomlin’s intent, which is still hard to determine, even with this new video angle. It is going to be a tough judgment call by the league office, but if Tomlin is not near the field, this incident would not be the topic of conversation.
Taking away a draft pick from Pittsburgh seems extreme, but considering Jones could have sustained an injury due to Tomlin’s close proximity to the field, the league could send a message to other teams with an extreme punishment. It would be a harsh penalty, regardless of the NFL’s motivation, but one Tomlin could have avoided.
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