The NFL fined Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin $100,000 and will consider modification or forfeiture of the team's 2014 draft choices, the league announced Wednesday.
Any modification or forfeiture of the draft picks will be considered after the final order of the 2014 draft has been determined. The discipline was issued by NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson.
The penalties are a result of Tomlin's actions on the sideline during a kickoff return in the Steelers' 22-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 13. In the third quarter, Ravens kick returner Jacoby Jones appeared to break free down the sideline only to be slowed by Tomlin -- who had his back to Jones and was standing on the white stripe hugging the field.
Ultimately, Jones was corralled from behind by Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen. Though the officials did not flag Tomlin for unsportsmanlike conduct, the league decided to pursue discipline against the coach after the game.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that the league did not remove Tomlin from the NFL's competition committee, to which the coach recently was added as a member. Rapoport also noted that the Steelers were not fined.
Tomlin immediately released a statement after the league's announcement.
"As I stated yesterday, I take full responsibility for my actions, and I apologize for causing negative attention to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization," Tomlin said. "I accept the penalty that I received. I will no longer address this issue as I am preparing for an important game this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins."
NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said on Tuesday's edition of NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" that Tomlin should have been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.
"Any time a player or a coach from the sideline is in this white area, that's a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct," Blandino said." "If they interfere with the play, it could be what's called a 'palpably unfair act.'"
The issue of sideline placement will be addressed with the complete referee staff via video training this week, Rapoport reported Wednesday on NFL Network's "Around the League Live," per a league source.
Tomlin has maintained that his actions were not intentional. He elaborated Tuesday, calling the incident "embarrassing, inexcusable, illegal (and) a blunder," while acknowledging that he would "take his medicine" for the aftermath of the play.
"I think probably my biggest error on Thursday night is not realizing that that play jeopardized the integrity of the game from a perception standpoint," Tomlin said. "At no time Thursday night in the game or after, did I realize that my actions would be perceived potentially, or could be perceived potentially as intentional."
As for Jones, the return man has been open about how his trajectory on the 73-yard scamper was affected by Tomlin's presence on the sideline.
"I eased up," Jones told NFL Network's "NFL AM" the day after the game. "At the time when I was looking at him, I was like, 'I ain't going to run through him.' Everybody was like, 'You should've ran over him,' and I'm like, 'Man, good God, I'm not that type of person.'"