Pittsburgh, PA, United States (4E Sports) – Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has apologized for his sideline interference during a kickoff return against the Baltimore Ravens Thursday, saying it was “embarrassing,” “inexcusable” and “illegal.”
However, Tomlin insisted that he did not intentionally try to interfere with Jacoby Jones’ kickoff return.
“It’s been shocking to me that my actions could have been perceived or have been perceived in any way as intentional in regard to my action on that play,” Tomlin said. “I would never do such a thing. I would never consider doing such a thing.”
Many were saying that Jones may have scored a touchdown had he not shifted direction because Tomlin’s right foot was on the field, an action that could merit a six-figure fine for him and a loss of draft pick for the Steelers.
“I can’t be in that space and I was, so I take full responsibility for that,” Tomlin said. “It’s an inexcusable blunder on my part. I think probably my biggest error on Thursday night is not realizing that play jeopardized the integrity of the game from a perception standpoint.”
Tomlin said he has communicated several times with Roger Goodell and that he spoke with the NFL commissioner on Monday as well as with Ray Anderson, the league’s senior vice president of football operations.
Tomlin said Steelers chairman emeritus Dan Rooney and president Art Rooney II have not addressed the incident with him, and several players have defended Tomlin, including team captains Ben Roethlisberger and Ryan Clark.
“I don’t think it was intentional,” Roethlisberger said, “I know exactly what he’s talking about when he says he gets caught up watching that because I watch the Jumbotron too. It does give you better views.”