PITTSBURGH - Steelers and the NFL are refusing to confirm that the team will be stripped of a late-round draft pick for coach Mike Tomlin's sideline mishap in Baltimore on Thanksgiving.
CBS Sports first reported Sunday the league will take a lower-round pick from the Steelers.
The NFL is not expected to announce any further Steelers' punishment – Tomlin was fined $100,000 last week – until after the NFL draft order is finalized and all the compensatory picks are awarded, during the league's March meetings.
The team has not been informed of what the possible punishment will be.
When the NFL announced its punishment for Tomlin's sidestep onto the field and into the vicinity of the Ravens' Jacoby Jones during his 73-yard kickoff return, this language was included: “Because the conduct affected a play on the field, a modification or forfeiture of draft picks will be considered after the final order of the 2014 draft has been determined.”
The key wording of the statement appears to be “draft picks.” A late-round pick apparently is one of those picks, but any additional pick apparently would be taken away only if the Ravens end up missing the playoffs because of lost points they would have gained if Jones had scored on the play.
However, point differential is well down the list of NFL tiebreakers, and the chances of that criteria coming into play in settling a tie for a playoff spot are almost infinitesimal.
The NFL is not expected to make any other statement until the draft order is finalized.
The Steelers anticipated a Tomlin fine, and possibly a franchise fine, but they did not expect to lose a draft pick – even a low-round selection.
The team anticipates receiving extra draft picks in 2014 as a result of losing Mike Wallace, Keenan Lewis and Rashard Mendenhall in free agency during the offseason. They previously traded their third-round pick to Cleveland in order to move in the fourth round and draft safety Shamarko Thomas, in anticipation of receiving a replacement third-round pick as compensation for losing Wallace.
This article was written by Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.