ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz was leaning over last season, his nose not even on the field when he received the most unwelcome of surprises.
An elbow from an official. Right in his face. The nose, to be specific.
“I wasn’t even in the white, but that didn’t feel good,” Schwartz said. “There were probably some other people that wish they had that elbow.
“But we talk about it a bunch, staying out and things like that. It’s a difficult thing to do. I say I’m pretty good about staying out of the white but things happen in a game.”
Schwartz said he and his staff discuss staying off of the field and even off of the white part of the sideline during games and it is also part of what they discuss with players. Don’t even be near the field, that way you can avoid what happened with Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin on Thanksgiving.
Tomlin ended up on the field during a kick return by Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones that appeared to be going for a touchdown. He jumped out of the way, but Jones tried to avoid him and ended up being tackled.
On Wednesday, the NFL fined Tomlin $100,000 and is considering penalizing the Steelers with a lost draft pick. One of Detroit’s primary returners, Jeremy Ross, was stunned when he was told how much Tomlin was fined.
“Really? Wow. Wow,” Ross said. “Just be aware where you’re at on the sideline, basically. But you never want to have somebody on the field, especially when you’re returning and stuff.”
Ross and Micheal Spurlock, Detroit’s other returner, both said they would do something similar to Jones when it came to how they would have handled the return with Tomlin.
They would have done all they could to avoid hitting him instead of potentially running into him because he was on the field of play.
“I think I would do what Jacoby did. You dodge him,” Spurlock said. “You out there to be elusive and go score, not to try and run over everybody. He tried to dodge him and keep going. He got tackled but I don’t think it was done intentionally.
“You feel bad for Jacoby, that could have been a touchdown but they still won the game. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”