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Tomlin Takes

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'Tomlin's Takes' on Shazier, player safety

  • Family first: It shouldn't come as a surprise that when Coach Mike Tomlin talked with Ryan Shazier at the hospital last night, with the entire NFL family praying for him and concerned about his well-being, that Shazier did what he always does. He put his teammates first. Shazier asked Tomlin how the guys were doing, showing legitimate concern for his brothers.

"Ryan is a legitimate leader," said Tomlin. "He is asking about the guys, Vince (Williams) particularly. I told him about the guys, how the game unfolded and some of those things. He really wanted to know what was going on with his brothers. Normal conversations. Not only is he a mentally tough guy, but he is spiritually in a great place. That is an asset to him and his family."

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Showing emotion:** Williams and Shazier have an extremely close bond, and that was evident when Williams was in tears as Shazier laid motionless on the field, and after he was taken off the field.

"I wasn't surprised by Vince's response," said Tomlin. "I know how close those men are. They are professional brothers, but it goes beyond that. When you put what you put into what we do, the relationships go beyond professional. They are quite personal, and they have to be if you want unique outcomes. We embrace that. I don't think anybody was surprised by his response. I think in a lot of ways we shared his response, just might not have shared it as outwardly as he did." 

Safety first: Monday night's game was a physical one, and Tomlin is the first to admit that there were some plays in the game that didn't belong. But making the game safer for the players is something that he focuses on as a member of the NFL's competition committee, and something he takes to heart every time his team takes the field.

"I will acknowledge there were some unfortunate things in that game, that we don't need in our game, by both sides," said Tomlin. "My job as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers is to work hard to minimize those things we are involved in before they occur. And we do. But they did (occur) last night in an instance or two. We will work hard to make sure they don't happen again.

"We have a responsibility to make this game as safe as it possibly can be. It's my opinion as someone that is highly involved in the process behind the scenes, as a competition committee member and a guy that has been in this league a long time, I take that responsibility personality. I think we have worked hard to improve in those areas. I think the game is safer than it's been. With that being said, I think we still have room for growth.

"I also think there were some tremendous displays of competitive spirit and play that won't get talked about as much as it should, guys on both sides digging down and performing and performing at a high level. Guys play their guts out on both sides when those two teams come together." 

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