HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN OCTOBER 24, 2008
Coach Mike Tomlin:We just put the finishing touches on what has been a good week from a practice standpoint; focusing on situational football on Friday. The reason that I am here is because I want to address the Santonio Holmes situation; give you a little clarity in terms of where we stand with it at this point. At this point we have chosen to name him as an inactive for this football game. His situation has created somewhat of a distraction; we want to minimize that as much as we can and remain focused on the task at hand, which is to compete and play against the New York Giants on Sunday. That is where we are at this point; we don't have a great deal of information. We should choose to address it as an organization and as a football team on Monday. I met with Santonio this morning and I notified him of that; told him that I will see him on Monday morning; and then we went about our business of getting ready to play. Of course, like always, there will be no excuses; the standard of expectation does not change. We have some men that will be capable of standing up and performing for us. We look forward to watching them do that.
Will Santonio Holmes be considered suspended?
At this point, I just choose to describe it as inactive.
Are you worried about this young man?
Right now, this is the first incident that has happened with Santonio since I have been. I base my judgment on people off our direct interaction. This is how I choose to address it and deal with it at this time. My approach and mentality in regards to the situation might be different next week. Right now I don't have the time or patience to delve into it. We're just going to be prepared to play and play with the men we designate.
Are you disappointed or angry?
I am neither of those; I just don't have a great deal of information. This is the direction that I have chosen to go; I choose to remain focused on what it is that we have in front of us this weekend as a football team; that decision was made with that in mind.
Was this decision influenced by the NFL; were you contacted by the NFL?
Not at all; I have just chosen to render him inactive and play with others.
Your take on Nate Washington now being the starter?
We talked earlier this week about Nate Washington, and his growth and development; it has been very good. He has been given opportunities due to circumstances. We try to preserve Hines (Ward) as much as we can so he gets first-team reps on Wednesdays. He has position flexibility. He has shown that he can consistently be a big playmaker for us and he has over the past few games. We are going to need him to play big again on Sunday. I think that he embraces that challenge. I think he is at a point in his career where he needs to be ready to embrace those challenges. We look forward to watching him do that.
Is Limas Sweed the three now?
Dallas Baker and Limas will share the load. Quite frankly, we will go with the hot hand.
Is it more difficult for a receiver to work outside and then go inside?
We value position flexibility. Our non-starters have to have it so that we can have an opportunity to get in where you fit in, if you will. A lot of these guys have position flexibility. Nate can play everywhere; Dallas Baker has great position flexibility. Limas is a guy who is somewhat limited because he is a rookie. Those other two guys know enough that we won't miss a beat schematically.
Aaron Smith – will he play?
What I can say about Aaron's situation is this, that he has our complete and full support. He is going through a tough time right now. I will allow him to address that with you when he deems it necessary. At this time he has our full support and it is questionable whether or not he will participate.
What did you say to the team about this situation?
Really, what I said to them is what I said to all of you. We are paid to deal with distractions. I think that the great teams are the ones that do and find a way to get the job done. When you are a good team, there is going to be distractions because with good teams comes attention. We embrace this challenge; we need to because it is our desire to be a great team.
What would you say to young people about this?
I need more information before I can make public statements in regards to inspiring or educating young people. I have no comment at this time.
Willie Parker and Marvel Smith – will they play?
Marvel is deemed out and Willie is deemed doubtful, so there is a strong possibility that neither will play.
Will there be a roster move this weekend?
Yes, we are going to make a move or two, but nothing out of the ordinary. We intend to stay in-house with those things and we will see where it shapes out.
How was Parker in practice this weekend?
He showed some good things early; his participation got more limited as we went on in the week. That is where we are with this thing; we will continue to take it day-by-day and hopefully he will get back to us soon. I know that he is chomping at the bit as are we.
Is it fluid buildup in his knee or is it just sore?
It is part of the recovery process; I wouldn't call it fluid build up.