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Tomlin: 'I take responsibility for throwing it'

All's well that ends well. Or at least it would appear so in the aftermath of Ben Roethlisberger and the case of the foot in the walking boot.

On the final offensive possession of the Wild Card Game against Miami, Ben Roethlisberger broke out of the pocket and looked for a receiver who might be able to help him convert a third-and-8 with 4:34 remaining in the game, and in the process of that he was dragged down from behind by Cameron Wake as he was releasing the ball that became an interception by cornerback Xavien Howard.

During his news conference today, Coach Mike Tomlin addressed the questions resulting from that sequence.

Such as: What was Roethlisberger still doing in a game in which the Steelers held a 30-12 lead?

"Because we felt Ben's presence in the game would aid us in closing out the game via the run," said Tomlin. "We had every intention of working to close the game out with DeAngelo (Williams), and Ben's presence on the field would aid in that not only because of his presence, but a lot of our run game was check-oriented, based on what we saw from the defense. Ben had the better part of the game to see those checks and to put us in the appropriate calls in an effort to do it."

And then before the next question could be asked, Tomlin continued, "Now, I take responsibility for throwing it on third down. I got a little over-aggressive there, and it goes beyond taking responsibility. I made the call, so don't ask Todd (Haley) about it. I made the call, and I take responsibility for that."

What set of circumstances might be considered safe ones when it comes to removing his starting quarterback?

"It really depends on circumstances," said Tomlin. "There is really no cookie-cutter in terms of making those decisions."

Already having indicated Roethlisberger's injury was an aggravation of a previous foot injury, Tomlin explained the plan for his starting quarterback the rest of the week:

"I manage his practice availability irregardless of circumstance," said Tomlin. "He's a veteran guy. You have to take into account the cumulative effect of throws and so forth. He has very limited physical reps on a Wednesday over the second half of the season anyway. You guys who watch us work know and understand that. I don't imagine his foot circumstance changing our approach to his readiness."

And Roethlisberger himself already has said his foot is out of the walking boot and that the injury won't prevent him from playing on Sunday against the Chiefs in Kansas City.

"From an injury standpoint, some pre-existing injuries we'll continue to monitor – and you know the normal procedure, that being we'll evaluate the amount they're able to participate this week and the quality of that participation to determine whether or not they're able to help us this week – and that group includes Anthony Chickillo (ankle), Robert Golden (ankle), Ricardo Mathews (ankle). Vince Williams has a shoulder that limited him in a big way in preparation for the game last week but he was able to perform. We'll probably go through a similar procedure this week, but we won't take it for granted. We'll watch him in the ways we watch the others. Ladarius Green is still in the (concussion) protocol. The same thing there. We're going to adhere to the protocol, to the letter. We're going to do what's appropriate. If he's cleared, then he'll participate, provided he gets an opportunity in some form or fashion to prepare. If he doesn't, he won't.

"Some in-game things worth mentioning: Le'Veon Bell has some bumps and bruises associated with play. He touched it a few times, so I may give him a day, on Wednesday. Ben Roethlisberger aggravated his foot, but it doesn't appear to be an issue. We'll watch him closely as we push forward to the game but not anticipating that limiting him. Sean Davis, you saw him go out of the game maybe once or twice with a shoulder. We'll monitor that. Fitz Toussaint came in and reported concussion-like symptoms yesterday. He's being evaluated and he's in the protocol. We'll keep you updated there."

"I'll start with a comment regarding Coach Porter's situation. Obviously it's a disappointing one, an unfortunate one, one that we are dealing with, and we are dealing with in an appropriate manner. To be involved in the National Football League is an honor and a privilege, it's not a right. We should respect it as such. Obviously that was breached in these circumstances and there are consequences to be suffered because of it. The statement that we released yesterday is an accurate one in that we placed Coach Porter on leave as we gather information regarding the incident. There is no timetable on that. We will do what is appropriate.

"In this league, we're all held to a standard of decorum. Players, but also coaches, front office people, executives even more so and rightfully so. We're treating this with the attention it deserves. We're not overly concerned with it being a distraction for us, quite honestly. It's our job to deal with and overcome distractions and things that pop up from time to time. Sometimes those incidents are highly publicized, like this incident. Sometimes those instances aren't publicized at all. This (one) is common knowledge and a public issue, so I see how it could be viewed as (a distraction), but inside this building it won't be. It'll just be one of the myriad things we'll have to deal with as professionals. And it doesn't change what is expected from us, and it won't change our approach to preparation for what's expected from us."

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