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Mike Tomlin says Steelers protected Hines Ward from himself

One of the realities of the NFL’s increased emphasis on player safety is that NFL players don’t necessarily want the NFL to increasingly emphasize their safety if it means changing the way they’ve played the game. Players want to lead with their heads, players want to be allowed to shake off a concussion and go right back onto the field, and they don’t appreciate it when the league office tells them they can’t.

Nowhere has that been clearer than in Pittsburgh, where James Harrison received the biggest fine of any player in the league this season and was backed by teammates, coaches and even the owner.

There’s now another example out of Pittsburgh of the way the players have resisted the league’s rules that are designed to keep them safe.

On Sunday night, Steelers receiver Hines Ward left the game after a helmet-to-helmet hit that the team originally said was a “neck” injury but coach Mike Tomlin later admitted was a concussion. Now Tomlin says that the Steelers’ decision to prevent Ward from going back into the game was an example of protecting Ward from himself.

“I think we’re all pretty familiar with the climate that we’re in, in regards to concussions,” Tomlin said. “Sometimes, you’ve got to protect the extreme competitors from themselves, and Hines is that. We love and respect him for that, but we had to act in his best interests.”

Acting in the players’ best interests is particularly hard when the players disagree with the league about what their best interests are.

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26 Responses to “Mike Tomlin says Steelers protected Hines Ward from himself”
  1. semperfi24 says: Nov 17, 2010 8:49 AM

    If the Steelers were trying to protect Ward from himself, why did they call it a neck injury? They should have called it a concussion, taken him off the sideline, and put him in street clothes.

    But they, didnt want the Pats to know that he wasnt coming back into the game, but wanted the Pats to think there was a possibility of a return to the game….personally, I dont think there is anything wrong with manipulating the injury report, or telling a fib on the sidelines, to keep the opponent guessing, but Pittsburgh, and their fans, has been waaaaaaaaay too outspoken against anything and everything under the “gaining a competitive advantage” category. Yes I am referring to “video taping signals, etc”, but not just that. Pittsburgh fans have been outspoken against EVERYTHING. So, please, Pittsburgh fans, accept that ALL teams (including yours) do what they can to gain an advantage, some just go farther than others, and some just do it better than others. I have been an auto racing fan for a looong time, and in auto racing, “if you are cheating, you arent trying”…..

    So let me say, since most Steelers fans will miss the point, I dont have a problem with Pittsburgh doing what they did, calling it a neck injury. But any Steelers fan that has a back bone, and practices what they have been preaching for the last 3 years, will call the Steelers out for this…..but we know you wont

  2. everybodygotaids says: Nov 17, 2010 9:09 AM

    Acting in the players’ best interests is particularly hard when the players disagree with the league about what their best interests are.
    ___________

    At the very least, you could easily make the case that the guy just had a head injury and isn’t in any condition to decide if he should be playing or not.

  3. pukey60 says: Nov 17, 2010 9:21 AM

    Total class.

  4. japdouds says: Nov 17, 2010 9:40 AM

    WARD is the one who tried to claim it was a neck injury, because he knew if he said it was a concussion his day was done. As soon as Ward came to the sidelines the doctors told him he was done because they saw him stumble when walking off the field.

    Funny, you don’t see Ward or the Steelers complaining about a big hit when they are on the receiving end, and with all the diva WR’s around the league here we have a guy willing to sacrifice his body for the team and the game.

    And PFT of course finds a way to spin every Steelers story negative.

    Steeler Envy, Florio has had it since they beat the Vikings in SB X.

  5. ch0pstyx says: Nov 17, 2010 9:44 AM

    Good on Tomlin for making the safety and well being of his players a prime area of focus. Concussions are no joke, in any sport. See Merril Hoge and in hockey for example, the Lindros brothers.

  6. ineptguy6 says: Nov 17, 2010 9:50 AM

    @semperfi24 The difference is that there is no rule against what the Steelers did. Like you said, most teams try to create confusion with the injury reports. The Pats as an example routinely have what seems like half their players listed as probable. There is nothing wrong with what was done, just trying to stir stuff up. The real problem is when teams do things that are blatant violations of the rules, i.e. videotaping signals. I personally don’t care because, as I understand it, lots of teams did and most everybody knew it was happening. It was the teams own fault for not changing signals. In any event though, there is a difference and I think you are the one that is missing the point.

  7. steelerdynasty2010 says: Nov 17, 2010 10:09 AM

    @semperfi:
    are you trying to equate VIDEOTAPING defensive/offensive signals and calling a concussion a neck injury (or just divulging misleading injury reports)? not even close to the same category. However, I am one such fan who knows that if one team’s doin it, you can bet your bottom dollar that there are at least 5 others doin it too (and one of them may be your own). i dont know why teams are required to update injuries to players during the game anyway, it’s dumb.
    i understand the point you’re trying to make, but you picked a poor example. there’s nothing to really “call out” here. its not like they put him back in the game. They called it something it wasnt (and who’s to say that his neck wasnt injured? looking at the hit, i’d say it probably was too. its not an either or type of injury. its possible to hurt your neck and get a concussion on the same play), but still followed the procedures for a concussion and did not allow him into the game and further, took the decision from his hands. as the wendy’s commercial used to say “where’s the beef?”
    have we been outspoken about this crackdown on hits? yes, because someone should be. it’s ridiculous for the league to be so reactionary and now so over-reactive and you know it. you people act like we’re the only ones who disagree with this nonsense. For whatever reason, when someone from our organization speaks out against it, its news. Wonder why? maybe because we’re one of the most prestigious franchises in the NFL, and when people in positions of prestige take up a cause or issue, it instantly becomes newsworthy and relevant. it sounds arrogant but its the truth.

  8. steeelfann says: Nov 17, 2010 10:18 AM

    First the Nanny government telling us what to do with our own lives, now the NFL. Get away from me.
    Freedom.

  9. steelersmichele says: Nov 17, 2010 10:26 AM

    Protecting players, backing them up, and supporting them is the job of the coach and the owner. We may not always agree with the decisions, but I’m sure players like to know management has their back. Look at the situations with Childress and Shanahan. A lot of negative press comes from players not “trusting” their coach.

    That said, it was a good hit–it obviously take a lot to bring Ward down, so that guy gets a gold star for taking out a tough receiver. And no, I’m not going to demand that guy gets fined for a helmet-to-helmet hit that caused a concussion. Goodell isn’t going to ask for money either (that was so two weeks ago and he’s already on to the next flavor of the week–wider fields)

  10. gridironman says: Nov 17, 2010 10:27 AM

    I like how the Steelers handled the situation. This is a lot like when Jason Witten had a concussion and was practically screaming at the Cowboy’s medical staff to let him back in. Protecting a player from himself is the right thing to do when it comes to injuries with long-term implications.

  11. peytonwantsaflag says: Nov 17, 2010 10:38 AM

    What to BS-

    if Tomlin calls it a concussion – which is what it was- nobody has to protect anybody from anything.

    If he calls it what it was instead of covering his own ass by lying about it in case the game was close and he need Hinds then he doesn’t have to protect anybody – the leagues made the decision for him.

    this guy is a tool

  12. SteelTown6 says: Nov 17, 2010 10:51 AM

    Another day, another BS article written to imply that the Steelers are IN FAVOR of breaking the rules.

    Good job.
    Florio has taught you well grasshopper.

  13. Rosenthals Speling Instrukter says: Nov 17, 2010 11:15 AM

    #
    andyprough says: Nov 13, 2010 11:46 AM

    Clearly, Polamalu and the Steelers are sending a message this week to the Patriots that Tom Brady, Wes Welker and crew are not coming out of this game without some mud, blood and grass stains and at least bruised egos.

    And, if they don’t like getting hit, there is always an alternative – the Lingerie Football League would probably be thrilled to have them
    ——————————————————

    Was catching up on high post articles during my break and found this gem.

    Good Call!

  14. pooflingingmonkey says: Nov 17, 2010 11:15 AM

    Ward is a monster. Every team wishes they had a player with his guts.

    I hate him, but respect the hell out of him, too.

  15. maddog111 says: Nov 17, 2010 11:33 AM

    This is the first helmet to helmet hit this year that Florio hasn’t been up-in-arms about. I don’t get it. He was obviously a defenseless receiver, or the play wouldn’t have been overturned. If he’d made a football move, thus making the hit legal, the call would have stood, a reception, and a fumble, recovered by Ward.

  16. godofwine330 says: Nov 17, 2010 11:34 AM

    IMO Hines is a lock for the Hall of Fame. This guy came into the league as a guy who had never played receiver. He was a QB at Georgia and turned into one of the most complete WR of all time. He can catch-doesn’t drop much at all. He can block with the best of them with the ferocity of an O-Lineman-and smile while he is doing it. He can take your best shot from your fiercest hitter and smile as he is getting up off the ground. He is as tough an SOB as I have seen on the field.

    The best complement I have heard bestowed upon him was from Brian Billick and I echo this wholeheartedly, “I HATE that guy…but I’d love to have him on my team. I am a born and raised Browns fan and I can say this because every bit of it is true. No one can ever question his heart or his toughness, and sometimes, even though the player will hate you for a minute because of it, you must save them from themselves.

  17. peytonwantsaflag says: Nov 17, 2010 11:50 AM

    and smile while he is doing it

    he allways looks like the bagboy at my grocery store.

  18. everybodygotaids says: Nov 17, 2010 12:00 PM

    godofwine330 says:
    Nov 17, 2010 11:34 AM
    IMO Hines is a lock for the Hall of Fame.
    ___________

    They don’t call it the hall of pretty good for a reason. Hines Ward has never dominated the league in anything. He was never considered the best WR in the league (or probably even top 5….maybe top 10 for a season here or there) at any point in his career. When you need to come out and say he’s a great downfield blocker….yeah, that’s nice and he’s probably responsible for some big plays (and certainly more than his fair share of cheap shots and dirty hits), but hall of FAME? Not in a million years.

  19. everybodygotaids says: Nov 17, 2010 12:05 PM

    If Herman Moore isn’t in the Hall of Fame, Hines Ward isn’t getting in unless he buys a ticket.

  20. holeinone09 says: Nov 17, 2010 12:24 PM

    Hey aids, we can all understand you don’t have much of a clue about Hines’ overall ability and talent, and how he has added value to the team’s success over the years, since you don’t watch him play every game. But IMO, he will be a high-probability HOF candidate when it’s all said and done. No disrespect to any other candidate, just props to Hines for the type of player he has been and should continue to be until he retires.

    Also, Steelers did the right thing when not allowing him to come back into the game. I frankly don’t care what the injury was referred to during the game, he was held out. Anyone that criticizes any of this is just a hater, pure and simple.

    GO STEELERS!!

  21. everybodygotaids says: Nov 17, 2010 1:20 PM

    holeinone09 says:
    Nov 17, 2010 12:24 PM
    Hey aids, we can all understand you don’t have much of a clue about Hines’ overall ability and talent, and how he has added value to the team’s success over the years, since you don’t watch him play every game. But IMO, he will be a high-probability HOF candidate when it’s all said and done. No disrespect to any other candidate, just props to Hines for the type of player he has been and should continue to be until he retires.
    __________

    Look, Hines Ward is a good player. No one is disputing that….but the HOF is for the BEST players EVER. Saying Hines Ward will go to the HOF is like saying that Keenan McCardell or Keyshawn Johnson are going to the hall. Or Derrick Mason. Or Donald Driver. All good players…but come on. Is Eddie Kennison a HOF player? I get it. Hines Ward blocks downfield. Most receivers don’t put as much effort into that aspect of the game as he does…but really? He certainly isn’t getting in based on his actual receiving…so you’re saying that him being a blocking WR is going to put him in the HALL OF FAME?

    Look, I get it. You like the Steelers and they’ve been a good team for a number of years, but just because someone is the best receiver on a team that was very good…that doesn’t mean he’s worthy of going to the hall of fame. You guys already got your pass with Lynn Swann (who, like Troy Aikman, only got in based on being on a team that won a bunch of titles). If Hines Ward gets in, when do they induct Troy Brown?

  22. footballisking says: Nov 17, 2010 5:06 PM

    @everybodygotaids
    please tell me you did not compare Ward to McCardell, Brown,Johnson and Mason you have got to be kidding!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Deb says: Nov 17, 2010 5:12 PM

    @semperfi …

    You should change your screen name. I feel guilty calling you foolish, but it is what it is.

    I don’t care why the Steelers called it a neck injury. It may have been that they initially thought it was a neck injury. It may have been that he reported neck-injury symptoms. It maybe have been a ruse to fool the Pats (and oooh, didn’t that turn the game on its head). As far as I’m concerned, any team can say whatever it wants regarding player health. Though I’ve received no answer, I’ve posted repeatedly now–and long before this incident–asking why teams are obligated to report injuries. It strikes me as a competitive disadvantage. And the only reason I can find for the requirement is to enable gamblers to make informed bets. I don’t think coaches should have to sacrifice strategy to facilitate gambling.

    If you’re a Pats fan, you’ve got to be the most hypocritical or least self-aware person posting on this thread, because keeping mum about injuries to throw off opponents is a Belichick trademark. And I say “Good for BB!” See, no hypocrisy here. Just like I congratulated the Pats for whomping us, I congratulate their coach for being smart. It’s the idiot Pats fan who’s trying to turn something simple into an intrigue that I find ridiculous. (She rolls her eyes.)

  24. Gene Simmons Tongue says: Nov 17, 2010 9:47 PM

    Coach Tomlin,

    I respect the fact you WANT to protect you players! Let this be an example to ALL teams!!!

  25. steelerdynasty2010 says: Nov 18, 2010 2:13 PM

    PFT, where are my comments in response to SemperFi? i even tried to reword and repost and it still isnt here. no vulgarities either. whats up with that?

  26. fifel1144 says: Nov 19, 2010 12:15 PM

    #
    everybodygotaids says: Nov 17, 2010 12:00 PM

    godofwine330 says:
    Nov 17, 2010 11:34 AM
    IMO Hines is a lock for the Hall of Fame.
    ___________

    They don’t call it the hall of pretty good for a reason. Hines Ward has never dominated the league in anything. He was never considered the best WR in the league (or probably even top 5….maybe top 10 for a season here or there) at any point in his career. When you need to come out and say he’s a great downfield blocker….yeah, that’s nice and he’s probably responsible for some big plays (and certainly more than his fair share of cheap shots and dirty hits), but hall of FAME? Not in a million years.

    So Hines is not worthy of the Hall even though he has more yardage and touchdowns as other HOF wide receivers? i.e. Irvin, Stallworth, Swann. Just sayin.

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