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The NFL is expected to consider six-figure fines for Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers organization and also is expected to consider taking away a draft pick from the team, a source familiar with the league’s thinking told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
The league is expected to hand down its discipline early this coming week, the source said.
But according to the source, Tomlin likely will not be suspended for stepping on the field Thursday night during a kickoff return in Pittsburgh’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
After Pittsburgh scored to close to 13-7 in the third quarter, Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones broke free down the sideline on the ensuing kickoff but slowed up with Tomlin on the white stripe near the field of play — with his foot on the field at one point as Jones neared his location.
Tomlin, who had his back to the play, was not penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. He said he didn’t think he interfered with Jones.
What is troubling to the NFL is that Tomlin is the league’s most recent addition to the competition committee, which helps create the rules for the game.
Although Jones laughed about the incident, several Ravens players expressed genuine disappointment that the Pro Bowl kick returner didn’t simply run over Tomlin instead of taking a detour back into the middle of the field, sources told Schefter.
It was nine months ago at the Super Bowl that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco took flak for suggesting to teammates that they should run out on the field to tackle San Francisco 49ers kick returner Ted Ginn Jr. on the final play.
“That’s exactly what [Tomlin] just did,” Flacco said. “He was looking at the big screen the whole entire time, he knew where he was, he knew where Jacoby was. He pulled my move.”
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and ESPN.com Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley contributed to this report.