Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and Steelers linebackers coach Joey Porter aren’t saying anything about his presence on the field late in Saturday night’s game. The league office is.
So should Porter have been flagged?
“Assistant coaches shouldn’t be on the field during an injury timeout,” NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino said on Tuesday’s edition of NFL Total Access. “Medical staff, head coach can check on the welfare of a player. But we don’t want assistant coaches out there. It happens, especially when there’s the potential for a serious injury.”
Blandino said that, if the officials recognize that an assistant coach is on the field when he shouldn’t be following a potentially serious injury, they try to get him off the field in lieu of throwing a flag.
Still, there has to be a line that, if crossed, triggers a flag. Porter was lingering behind after receiver Antonio Brown was exiting the field following a hit that resulted in a concussion. At some point, the message should be stronger than, “Please leave.”
There were plenty of stronger messages and hits and questions arising from Saturday night’s game, but the segment with Blandino focused only on the Porter angle. The NFL has yet to publicly address the decision to flag linebacker Vontaze Burfict for the hit that concussed Brown or the decision not to flag Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier for a hit on Bengals running back Gio Bernard.
As to Porter, the question remains whether the league office will send a stronger message by fining Porter for his behavior. Both he and offensive line coach Mike Munchak, who pulled the hair of Bengals safety Reggie Nelson during a first-half confrontation on the sideline, are facing potential sanctions for Saturday night.