Steelers at Patriots: AFC Championship Tomlin Tuesday

The Steelers are gearing up to face the New England Patriots for a shot at Super Bowl LI.

Before the AFC title game gets underway we have some business to attend to in terms of the weekly Mike Tomlin press conference. Tomlin wraps up the previous game, updates injury statuses, breaks down the upcoming game and answers questions.

Just like last week there was a matter of extra activity to discuss at the beginning of the presser. Last week it was Joey Porter’s South Side arrest and this week it was Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video.

NFL: AFC Divisional-Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City ChiefsTomlin started the presser by addressing the video first with the language that was used by him and others in the video and the potential impact the controversy of the video presents for the week. Tomlin described his choice of words as ‘regrettable’ and explained that they were not words intended for public consumption.

He also explained that based on the magnitude of the game the team is faced with and their mentality he’s pretty confident that this won’t be a distraction.

Lastly, Tomlin addressed the issue of Antonio Brown both violating the league’s social media policy as well as what has been described as the sanctity of the team locker room by recording a live video of the entire room without everyone’s knowledge or permission.

“The last element of the discussion is Antonio himself. I’ll be bluntly honest here: It was foolish of him to do that; it was selfish of him to do that; and it was inconsiderate for him to do that. Not only is it a violation of our policy, it’s a violation of league policy, both of which he knows. There are consequences to be dealt with from his perspective. We’ll punish him, but we won’t punish us. And we’ll do so swiftly, and we’ll do so internally. And I’ll imagine there are consequences associated with the National Football League’s policy in that regard. I’m sure he’ll appropriately absorb all of those things as he moves forward. But larger than that, he’s got to grow from this. He has to. He works extremely hard, he’s extremely talented, and those things get minimized from incidents such as this. You wear on your teammates when they have to routinely answer questions about things that aren’t preparation-for-football-related. It’s our desire for him and for everyone to be great teammates as well as great players. He’s a great player, a hard-working player, and he’s respected largely in the locker room for those things, but incidents such as this don’t help him that regard, and that’s just the reality of it. In a nutshell, that’s going to be the gist of the conversation we have.

“And the reality is, those things don’t apply exclusively to Antonio. It’s a global thing in regard to professional sport, and I think that often why you see great players move around from team to team. I definitely don’t want that to be his story, and I’m sure he doesn’t want that to be his story, and so he has to address these things that put him and us in positions from time to time in setting such as this where it needs to be addressed. Other than that, I haven’t wasted a lot of time on it, to be honest with you. I haven’t visited with him because on Mondays and Tuesdays I prepare for games. I’m going to see him at some point, and when I do, I will address it.” – Mike Tomlin

I don’t think there’s any way that anyone on the team or within the organization or anyone familiar with Brown thinks he did this with any bad intentions but the fact that he had no consideration for his teammates is the issue. Even though several players where present in the video and none of them told him to stop it.

So, we’ll see where this goes from here. I’m sure it’s not completely over it. The hot takes won’t just dry up overnight.

Injuries

The injury situation is pretty good considering the team is about to play their 19th game this weekend. James Harrison will be limited by a shoulder and triceps injury and Anthony Chickillo is still dealing with his ankle injury that has sidelined him for the past several weeks.

Sean Davis is playing through a shoulder injury as is Vince Williams. Ricardo Matthews has an ankle injury and Fitzgerald Toussaint and Ladarius Green are still in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

The fact that Green is still in the protocol is pretty alarming and disappointing. I’m not sure at what point we’re hoping that he returns to play and when we’re just hoping he’s going to be ok. At this point it is a little bit of both.

Wrapping up the win over the Kansas City Chiefs

To wrap up the Chiefs Tomlin lauded the efforts of the defense for bouncing back after allowing an opponent to score on their opening drive for the first time this season. The Chiefs didn’t score again until the second half.

The special teams did their part of holding Tyreek Hill in check and preventing huge returns. And while the lack of efficiency in the red zone can’t be ignored you have to give it to Chris Boswell for his NFL-record six field goals.

Breaking down the Patriots

When breaking down the New England Patriots there’s really no need to talk them up. They’re good. Whatever, they cheat anyway.

Questions

Tomlin was asked about how the team has never had to go through New England before for any of their Super Bowl appearances but he turned the tables pretty good on that. He reminded everyone that the Patriots hadn’t had to go through Pittsburgh either since he’s been there. Touché.

He said that with his team going into their 20th work week since the start of the regular season he’s not at all worried about fatigue whether mental or physical. He said that this team has plenty of time to rest in the last three weeks of February.

With that said let’s get these a—holes. Bring on the Patriots!

Very few “Obviously’s” used this week. I counted less than five.

You can listen to Tomlin’s entire presser right here.

Here we go Steelers! Here we go!

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