When Mike Tomlin stepped to the podium inside the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex today, he did so as the coach of a team carrying an 0-1-1 record and about to face an undefeated opponent on national television, an opponent that has showcased a more potent passing attack than the one that shredded the Steelers defense for six touchdowns a couple of days before.
He was asked about that, and he talked about all of that, but there also were questions about Antonio Brown relating to another outburst on social media, an incident on the sideline during the loss to the Chiefs, and a report that he was not at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Monday.
This was how Tomlin answered questions on those topics:
"Like I said last week, I'm not going to openly talk about a lot of things that occur in social media. We could be chasing that always. I will say this: It's important that we understand our position, the light that shines on us, and the responsibility that comes with it. There have been a couple of instances now where you've asked me about Antonio regarding some social media-like things. I'll address that and address that very directly with him, but I'll leave that between he and I. I'm not going to utilize this forum to address such things. I just don't believe it's appropriate. I think this forum is a very professional one. We have a lot of football things to talk about – performance, personnel, opportunities, challenges – that the game of football presents. I always want to take that road when I'm standing at this podium representing this league. That's just how I choose to approach it."
When asked about whether Brown was present on Monday:
"He was not. I'm looking forward to visiting with him today and discussing that and some other things. I'm not going to get into the details of why he wasn't here, or whether he was excused, and all of those things. I'd just as soon leave all of those things in-house. I understand sometimes you have some negativity. We lost a football game, and there were some negative exchanges on the sideline. There is frustration associated with not playing well and not winning. I understand all that. There are opportunities for us to respond to that, particularly at the early portions of the year, to utilize negative experiences and things that occur to educate our team at this point in the journey so it becomes a non-factor as we move forward. That's generally the approach we take in non-football things, such as social media, decorum, etc., and so hopefully this will be the last time I'll be discussing things such as that in this setting.
When asked about suspending Martavis Bryant over a social media incident:
"That was very different. That was player among player. That's player relations. I'm not getting into what happens in that gray atmosphere out there among people where there is very little accountability and things of that nature. That's just not my bag."
TOMLIN'S INJURY UPDATE
"On the injury front, we have a couple of things to manage and watch, a couple of existing injuries: David DeCastro has a chance as he works his way back from his hand injury. We'll watch his participation this week. Tyson Alualu, same thing, as he works his way back from his shoulder injury. We have a couple of new injuries to manage and watch. Marcus Gilbert with a hamstring, and Ramon Foster is managing a knee injury. We'll watch those guys through the week and see how they go. I didn't mention Joe Haden. He had a good week of rehabilitation, and we anticipate him working, but again, we'll let the result of that work and the quality of that work be our guide in terms of determining his availability."