PITTSBURGH -- Add Ben Roethlisberger to the list of Steelers players who have defended Mike Tomlin in the aftermath of a sideline incident that will likely result in at least a hefty fine for the seventh-year coach.
The NFL is reviewing the play in which Tomlin stepped onto the field right before Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones ran past him during a 73-yard kickoff return. Tomlin had been watching the play on a JumboTron, and his foot caused a slight change of direction that may have allowed Cortez Allen to make touchdown-saving tackle.
The penalty handed down by the NFL could include the loss of a draft pick, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, and the league is likely to come down hard on Tomlin, especially if it concludes that he deliberately interfered with the kickoff return that came after the Steelers’ first touchdown.
“I don’t think it was intentional,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday morning during his radio show on 93.7 The Fan. “Obviously he’s the only one that can answer that question but 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. There’s certain times throughout the games that I’d rather watch that because usually it’s an end-zone type view so you can see things better.”
Roethlisberger said he doesn’t think the incident will become a distraction for the Steelers.
“I’m going to take the approach that this is a Coach Tomlin thing, this is Steelers, NFL, this doesn’t have anything to do with us as players, we’ve just got to go play the games,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s the mentality I’m going to have and I’m pretty sure most of the guys will as well.”