Apparently it’s not over between the NFL and the players in their dispute about flagrant and dangerous hits. One day after a league official praised players for their clean play and noted that Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison “let up” rather than taken a shot at running back on Sunday, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin took umbrage with the comment.
Ray Anderson, the league’s vice president of football operations also said, “I applaud James for restraining himself.”
In remarks reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, an agitated Tomlin said: “I didn’t see anything of that nature. If I appear short, it’s because it’s somewhat insulting to me to assume we’re doing anything under any normal circumstances other than trying to play within the rules. That’s how our guys play; that’s how we coach. Number one, first and foremost, is it conducive to winning? That’s what our intentions are when we step in stadiums to play, whether it’s last weekend or three weeks ago or a month ago. Or a month from now.”
As if that weren’t enough, Tomlin also claimed that officials aren’t blowing their whistles quickly enough at the end of plays.
“You let me know when you hear a whistle,’’ Tomlin said. “That’s one of my contentions. There’s been a de-emphasis on the whistle, as far as I’m concerned, in the National Football League and I don’t agree with it. We talk about player safety, yet we don’t blow whistles at the end of football plays. So that’s kind of a misnomer when you’re talking about the whistle. What we want to do is play till the action ceases.”
It’s a good bet Tomlin will hear from the league on this one.