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Kaboly: Tomlin explains being on field during kick return

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BALTIMORE — Steelers coach Mike Tomlin might have entertained the crowd at M&T Bank Stadium Thanksgiving night, but it wasn’t by design.

Tomlin was shown on the jumbotron at least a half dozen times during replays after slightly altering the course of kick returner Jacoby Jones on a third-quarter kickoff that allowed Cortez Allen to chase him down from behind.

“They always like to show me on the jumbotron here in Baltimore,” Tomlin said. “I appreciate that.”

Of course, Tomlin was joking.

Tomlin said it was an accident that he was within the white area of the sidelines reserved for officials during the 73-yard third-quarter kick return that set up one of Justin Tucker‘s five field goals in Baltimore’s 22-20 win.

Tomlin explained himself after the game.

“I always watch the returns on the jumbrotron, it provides a better perspective for me,” Tomlin said. “I lost my placement as he broke free and saw at the last second how close I was to the field of play.”

Tomlin said he didn’t feel like he interfered with the play. Jones said that Tomlin did alter his path a little, but said that Allen shouldn’t have caught him from behind anyways.

“Once I broke, until I hit the hole, I’m running outside, I’m looking; I promise you, I’m looking at him the whole time,” Jones said. “I am like, ‘Does he know he’s on the field?’ I’m running. I am looking at him as I get close I’m like, ‘Is he going to move?’ I just weaved to get out of the way. It broke my stride a little bit , which I still shouldn’t have got caught. If I was him, I’d do the same thing.”

Tomlin didn’t think it was too funny. When told that he wasn’t permitted on the white boundary line, he quipped: “Tell me something I don’t know. I do it quite often, like everybody else in the National Football League. I was wrong. I accept responsibility for it.”

The Ravens argued that Jones should be awarded the touchdown, but that can only happen if Jones was tripped, which he wasn’t.

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh got a chuckle out of it all.

“I was wondering if they credit him with a tackle on that,” Harbaugh said. “Hey, that stuff happens. It happens. I really don’t have anything to say about it other than, stuff like that happens.”

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Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly covers the Pittburgh Steelers for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 250 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as three Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa and XLV in Dallas. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer, and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug

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