Steelers’ Mike Tomlin: ‘I’m Trying to Show a Good Example’


Joe Sargent/Getty Images Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during the game against the Denver Broncos on September 20, 2020.

Practicing mask discipline has been a challenge for a handful of NFL head coaches through the first few weeks of the regular season. Now those coaches—and the teams that employ them—are paying a steep price for their indiscretions.

On Monday Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio was fined $100,000 for failing to properly wear his mask on the sideline during Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. And four other head coaches—Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers), Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks), Jon Gruden (Las Vegas Raiders) and Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints)—have also been fined $100K, with each of their teams assessed an additional $250,000 penalty.

During his virtual press conference on Tuesday Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about his peers getting fined by the league.

“I have no reaction,” Tomlin said. “For me, personally, I’m just thankful to be working. A lot of us are not able to in this pandemic circumstance and I don’t take that for granted. And I just want to show a good example and show that I’m thankful for working, so I try to be as diligent as I can.”

All-Pro Guard David DeCastro Returning to Practice

Meanwhile, Tomlin had a few other interesting things to say during his press conference on Tuesday, mostly in relation to injuries.

Concerning All-Pro offensive guard David DeCastro, who has yet to play this season, Tomlin said: “The schedule is for him to participate this week and let the quality of that participation—the result of that participation—be our guide in terms of determining his availability [for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans].

Per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers are fully expecting DeCastro to play on Sunday, barring a setback.

In other injury news, Tomlin advised that three other players have injuries that could limit them in practice this week, but probably won’t prevent them from playing against the Texans.

Minor Injuries Suffered Vs. the Broncos

“Tyson Alualu has got a knee contusion, Bud Dupree has got some discomfort in his shoulder [and] Diontae Johnson’s got a toe issue that he has been dealing with,” said Tomlin, before noting that he will continue to “manage some of the veteran players in the ways that we have managed them from a participation standpoint in the early portions of the week. Some veteran guys, the cumulative effect of their careers, require less physical preparation in an effort to be ready to play. That aids in the preservation of their bodies, but it also provides quality reps for a younger guy who could need those reps and use those reps for game preparation and growth.

So, for example, Tomlin is likely to rest longtime veterans like quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and center Mike Pouncey, while giving reps to backup QB Mason Rudolph and backup center J.C. Hassenauer.

“We feel like we get two things done when we take that approach and we’ll continue to do that this week.”

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