View Full Version : Tomlin calls comments inappropriate

07-29-2011, 02:27 AM
Tomlin calls comments inappropriate

By Bob Labriola - Steelers Digest

http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/ ... 74d5897f3e (http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Tomlin-calls-comments-inappropriate/9ef0df3c-298d-4b57-b773-1c74d5897f3e)

LATROBE, Pa. – When Mike Tomlin was asked the question for the first time in an open forum with the media, he didn’t dodge it, nor did he mince his words. But when it came to choosing just the right word, Tomlin preferred “inappropriate” to “detrimental.”

The topic was what James Harrison said in a profile that appeared in a recent issue of Men’s Health, a piece that made national news because of comments the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year made about Commissioner Roger Goodell, Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall. The criticisms Harrison made about his teammates had to do with Super Bowl XLV, which the Steelers lost to the Green Bay Packers.

There has been rampant speculation regarding the potential fallout of Harrison’s words, both in terms of the damage that might have been done to the chemistry in the Steelers locker room for what he said about his teammates, to the possibly of some kind of disciplinary action taken for what he said about Goodell.

The particular question posed to Tomlin was about whether Harrison’s comments could be detrimental to the development of the 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I think it was inappropriate,” said Tomlin. “Whether or not it was detrimental to the development of our team, that remains to be seen. But it was inappropriate. What he said regarding the Commissioner was inappropriate.”

Tomlin said he has spoken to Harrison several times about what appeared in the magazine, but that those conversations would remain private. But Tomlin also discounted the notion that there would be any backlash against Harrison in the locker room for what he said about Roethlisberger and Mendenhall.

“That’s the locker room,” said Tomlin. “We have a unique group of guys who are uniquely close. I would imagine it didn’t register as big a blip on the radar as you guys might imagine. The guys on the team know and love and respect James. They know how he is. To a degree, some of the things he says they take with a grain of salt to be quite honest with you. That’s just how we operate.”

Tomlin said that three players will open this training camp on the physically unable to perform list. Hines Ward, who recently had surgery on his thumb; Chris Kemoeatu, who developed some swelling in his knee as a result of training for the start of camp; and Eugene Bright, a 2010 practice squad tight end who is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Players on PUP do not count on the roster until they are activated and begin to practice.

It comes in different forms and is called different things, but just about every NFL team has one to open training camp. Run-test, conditioning test, some are a timed series of 40-yard runs, others are a series of timed 100-yard runs. The Steelers did their version on Thursday afternoon, but Tomlin said the purpose of the exercise was different this time.

“We had a conditioning evaluation, and I think it was appropriate to approach it from that standpoint, as opposed to a conditioning test,” said Tomlin. “We don’t know where these guys have been. More than anything we wanted to see where they are from a conditioning standpoint and that provides knowledge for us as we proceed. It went extremely well. I like the condition of many of the men and with that we’ll proceed.”

The Steelers signed five of their seven draft picks, and those players were in camp on Thursday and took part in the conditioning evaluation and will be able to begin practicing with the team. Signed were OT Marcus Gilbert, CB Cortez Allen, OLB Chris Carter, G Keith Williams and RB Barron Batch. That leaves only two rookies unsigned – No. 1 pick Cameron Heyward and No. 3 pick Curtis Brown. Heyward is a defensive end and Brown is a cornerback.

Earlier in the day, the Steelers released a couple of veterans – Max Starks and Antwaan Randle El. Starks was a starting tackle for the Steelers in Super Bowl XL (right tackle) and Super Bowl XLIII (left tackle). Randle El threw the clinching touchdown pass to Hines Ward in Super Bowl XL and the re-joined the team last season after a stint with the Washington Redskins.

“Of course we have great respect for those guys and their contributions to our football team,” said Tomlin. “I’m not going to get into the specifics that led to our decision. The reality is that it’s necessary business maneuvers. We appreciate the efforts of those men and wish them the absolute best as they move forward.”

The Steelers will hold their first practice of this training camp at 2:55 p.m. on Friday, and the session will be open to the public. The players will not practice in pads, as per the new CBA. The first practice in pads will be on Sunday, also a 2:55 p.m. start time.