Mark Kaboly | Tribune-Review
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he used Antonio Brown’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for backpedaling into the end zone from 20 yards out on a punt return against the Redskins this past week as a “learning opportunity” for not only Brown, but the entire team.
“Briefly, simply what I said is that it was not respectable,” Tomlin said. “Those of us that know Antonio and watch him work on a day to day basis, if one word describes him professionally it’s respectable. How he prepares, what he’s willing to do, what kind of teammate he is, and that’s represented in his play. That’s the way we approached it.”
I totally agree with Tomlin that there is no malice involved with Brown’s celebrations and that there isn’t a guy on the team that’s more respectable than him, but, on the other hand, it’s not the first time it has happened.
Brown was called for two unsportsmanlike conduct penatlies during back-to-back preseason games last year.
Brown was called for a taunting penalty after a 77-yard touchdown catch during the third preseason game last year when he turned around 10 yards before the end zone and pointed the ball at safety Thomas DeCoud.
Tomlin said immediately after the game: “It’s just not intelligent. We can’t have those types of penalties. They hurt our football team.”
A few days later, Brown was called for another unsporstmanlike conduct penalty when he joined in celebrating a Jonathan Dwyer touchdown run.
Of course all of the penatlies against Brown were far from egregious, but you have to wonder why it keeps happening.
Tomlin said it needs to be corrected.
“I think people that don’t see you work on a day to day basis are capable of making judgments about you personally and professionally based on what they see, so we want to do what’s respectable,” Tomlin said. “That’s what we talked about and kind of moved on.”
But talk is cheap. Time to see some action.