Speaking at his Tuesday press conference, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged that his actions on Jacoby Jones' 73-yard kickoff return last week were "embarrassing, inexcusable, illegal" and "a blunder."
"As head coaches, we're held to higher standards of conduct, and that blunder fell woefully short and in that vein I accept ... the repercussions of a blunder of that nature," Tomlin said. "I embrace it. With my position comes preserving the integrity of the game of football."
Calling it "shocking" that his actions would be perceived as intentional, Tomlin made it clear that he would "take (his) medicine" if it meant that the integrity of the NFL was not in question.
Any regular viewer of Tomlin's media sessions is familiar with his custom of demanding that his team "owns" a defeat and responds positively to it.
He did the same with this controversy, accepting full responsibility and creating an atmosphere of transparency while answering questions for more than 20 minutes.
"I will take this unfortunate incident -- this blunder on my part -- and in doing so, I will honor to stand up and champion our game, and in particular, the National Football League, and the integrity of that," Tomlin added. "It's all that I have professionally. It's been very good to me in my life, and to be honest with you, quite frankly, the winning of any game is not important enough for me to jeopardize that."
Defiantly refusing to defend himself, Tomlin explained that he understands people who don't know him will judge him anyway.
The NFL has given him no indication of punishment and whether the team will suffer for his actions.
The overwhelming theme of Tomlin's news conference was accepting full responsibility and welcoming the jokes and jabs at his expense as long as it doesn't jeopardize the integrity of competition in the league.
"I did see the Soul Train picture. That was interesting," Tomlin quipped. "I've heard all the jokes. And I've got it coming."
If Tomlin did intentionally interfere with Jones, his news conference behavior would then suggest he's the best actor in the league.
UPDATE:The NFL announced Wednesday that Tomlin has been fined $100,000 The Steelers organization could face "modification or forfeiture of draft choices," but that won't be decided until the final order of the 2014 draft is set.