Hours after the NFL handed down a $100,000 fine to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin for interfering with play on the field during Jacoby Jones’ kickoff return Thursday, the Ravens had an opportunity to react.
Coach John Harbaugh provided the political response to the league’s punishment, which could also be modified to include draft pick compensation when the picking order is determined after the season.
“The NFL does a great job in terms of on the field and overall. We’re all responsible - officials, players, coaches - for what happens in between the white lines and the NFL addresses those things, and they’ve always done a great job of that. We respect that certainly,” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “Those kind of things can happen, they do happen to coaches, players and officials every single week, and they’re addressed with the National Football League. This one just got more attention than most of them.
“So we’ve moved on from that. We’re on to the Vikings now. We respect the process, we respect everybody involved. We certainly respect the Steelers and Mike Tomlin completely. I never really thought for one second that there was intentionality there, personally, and I think that’s why I was able to make light of that after the game. So we’ve moved on from that.”
While Harbaugh expressed that respect for the league, Tomlin and the Steelers, wideout Torrey Smith’s reaction was more priceless.
It was clear that Smith learned the news from the media by the way his eyes widened when told the amount of the fine.
“$100,000? Oof. $100,000? That’s a lot of money,” Smith said. “I don’t know. That’s in the past. It’s all funny because we won. But had we lost, I’d probably be blaming him, I’m not going to lie. But it’s tough. I can’t say he did it on purpose because I don’t know what he was thinking, but it definitely sends a message across the league.
“It’s not like he did anything - he stepped across the line, which definitely threw it off. You can say he did it on purpose, but you don’t truly know. And there’s coaches standing in that white box all the time. So it’s not like he did anything crazy, but Harbaugh does a good job of standing back and I’m sure he’ll take a couple extra steps back now.”
Quarterback Joe Flacco didn’t provide a lengthy response, but it didn’t seem like he was a big fan of the punishment.
“I don’t like when anybody gets money taken out of their pockets - players, coaches. I don’t like to see fines, especially big ones,” he said. “It is what it is and I haven’t thought much about it.”
Conversely, defensive lineman Chris Canty agreed with the NFL’s decision.
“I think the punishment fits the crime,” Canty said. “The NFL does a good job of disciplining its employees. So that’s what it is, that’s what they determined and we’ll move forward from that.”