Report: League investigating Tomlin, and could issue fine for stepping on the field

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says he didn't do it intentionally, but the fact he's on the field during a punt return, and nearly came into contact with the return man, is being evaluated by the NFL, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

ESPN reporter Adam Schefter cited sources within the league who are saying Steelers coach Mike Tomlin's actions in Pittsburgh's 22-20 loss to Baltimore could be subject to a fine.

Tomlin was looking away from the play, presumably at the JumboTron at M&T Bank Stadium as Jacoby Jones broke a kick return up the left sideline. Tomlin was standing with one foot on the playing field, looking away from it. As Jones approached, Tomlin reacted, and moved suddenly back toward the sideline, but not before Jones moved back inside. He slowed down a little, and that may have been enough of a hesitation to allow cornerback Cortez Allen to make the tackle.

Tomlin accepted responsibility for it, saying he usually watches returns on the video screen as a means to get a better perspective of it. He claims he did not intentionally move on the field.

The film supports Tomlin's side of it, but that likely won't change the fact he was on the field, and at the very least could have interfered with the return.

That should mean Tomlin can expect a fine from the league.

Along with that, it's likely all coaches will be put on notice to stand back away from the field. Coaches standing on the edge of the white sideline chalk is not something exclusive only to Tomlin, and while a fine seems justified in this case, the larger point here should be to enforce the sideline policy, something that is probably done once a game throughout the league.

It will likely live in lore over the best rivalry in football - Tomlin will become the first coach to receive a fine during a Steelers/Ravens game.

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