Mike Tomlin's Comments About Steelers Defense Lead To Controversy

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin might upset some people with some comments at a recent speech at his alma mater, William & Mary:

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"One of the reasons I work in the National Football League -- I'm tired of the NCAA rules,'' he told a crowd in Williamsburg, Va. "I am a win-at-all-costs kind of guy. The NFL is just right for me, although I am not a bounty guy in any form or fashion. Any form or fashion.'' Much applause. "What you've got to understand about the Pittsburgh Steelers is .. I ain't got to offer them anything. Guys like James Harrison -- they'll do it for nothing. The men I work with, I'm a blessed person."

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Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk took Tomlin's comments and ran with them.

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The easy message is that Tomlin has renounced paying defensive players to wreak havoc. The more subtle message is that Tomlin wants guys who’ll wreak havoc without an extra cash incentive.

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"I’m tired of the NCAA rules." It’s also clear that he’s tired of the NFL rules. Every gripe and complaint and piss and moan from Steelers players regarding the league’s rules for hitting offensive players naturally traces to the coaching staff — and ultimately to Tomlin. Last year, for example, safety Ryan Clark was celebrated in the film room for a hit that got him fined $40,000 by the league office.

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As Behind The Steel Curtain points out, though, there's nothing illegal about "wreaking havoc." In fact, that's what NFL defensive players are supposed to do. The issue is players getting concussions, and, more specifically -- and this is the part the NFL needs to work on -- establishing a consistent set of rules that helps prevent concussions. The NFL hasn't done this, instead instituting an arbitrary fine system that, strangely, seems to target Steelers much more than it targets other teams. Not that Tomlin was complaining about that. In fact, he specifically said, "The NFL is just right for me."

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