Tomlin praised for owning up to 'blunder'

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Mike Tomlin found his voice in the controversy he caused with his sideline interference in the Steelers’ 22-20 loss to the Ravens on Thanksgiving, and the seventh-year coach scored a key public relations victory with his willingness to talk about and take ownership of the gaffe that he called many things, including “inexcusable” and “embarrassing” as well as a "blunder" on his part.

The candor that Tomlin showed during the first 20 minutes of his weekly news conference offered a refreshing break from most of his question-and-answer sessions with the media in which he is usually guarded and seemingly goes out of his way to reveal as little as possible.

Tomlin said he expects the NFL to punish him for stepping onto the field during Jacoby Jones’ 73-yard kickoff return, and a league official acknowledged that he should have been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for the footwork that has stirred national interest.

Tomlin made clear that as wrong as he was for being on the field during a key play of the game, he never intended to interfere with Jones, who may have scored a touchdown had Tomlin’s foot not forced a subtle but significant change of direction by the Ravens wide receiver.

One view of the incident hailed Tomlin for doing what he could to help his team win if there was intent on his part to slow down Jones.