- Scott Brown, ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter
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PITTSBURGH -- Mike Tomlin deftly maneuvered around the bait offered up to him at his weekly news conference.
Tomlin was asked if he had a problem with comments such as those made by Ryan Clark regarding Ben Roethlisberger’s style of play. It is a story that keeps on giving thanks in part to Clark’s indignant claim following the Steelers' first win of the season that his observations, made to ESPN, were exploited by the local media.
“These guys are professional. To cooperate with the media is not only something they’re capable of doing, it’s something they’re required to do,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “Some do it better than others. Ryan is a very seasoned communicator, particularly with the media.
“I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about those interactions. I assume they’re going to say appropriate things and represent us in a manner in which we need to be represented professionally. I focus on the variables that matter, obviously the preparation and the play of the men on the football field, not what they do in their off hours.”
Hopefully, at least for the Steelers’ sake, Tomlin staying above the fray, so to speak, puts this story to rest.
Was Clark right that more was made of his comments than should have been? Absolutely.
What is mystifying, though, is that Clark didn’t expect the media response that followed his comments even if they were later presented out of context as the veteran free safety claimed.
No player in the Steelers locker room -- maybe even the NFL -- is better spoken or more media savvy than Clark.
And in Pittsburgh no sports figure moves the media needle the way Roethlisberger does.
Couple that with the Steelers’ miserable start that had everyone outside of the locker room looking for signs they were imploding, and it’s easy to see why Clark’s comments got so much play -- fair or not.
Tomlin, when later asked if his ban on playing games in the locker room will be lifted, took the same approach, as he did with the Clark question.
“I haven’t thought a lot about it to be honest with you," Tomlin said. "I’ve been really focused on looking at Baltimore Ravens tape.”