The NFL fined Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin $100,000 on Wednesday for interfering with Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones on a kickoff return in the third quarter of a 22-20 loss to the Ravens on Thanksgiving night.
The fine is the second-highest ever levied by the league on a head coach, behind only the $500,000 the NFL docked the Patriots’ Bill Belichick in 2007 for spying on an opponent’s defensive signals.
There is also the chance the Steelers have a draft pick taken away ‘‘because the conduct affected a play on the field.’’ Though Tomlin was not penalized, the league said the Steelers should have been flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.
All that from what Tomlin called an ‘‘embarrassing, inexcusable’’ case of being ‘‘mesmerized’’ while standing in a restricted area that separates the sideline from the field and staring at the video board during Jones’s 73-yard return.
Jones had to swerve to avoid running into the coach and was tackled during a return that might have gone for a touchdown if not for the obstruction. Tomlin briefly stepped onto the field before he jumped back.
Tomlin insists the ‘‘blunder’’ was not intentional but has no plans to appeal the ruling.
‘‘I apologize for causing negative attention to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization,’’ Tomlin said in a statement Wednesday. ‘‘I accept the penalty that I received.”
Given a chance to endorse Mike Shanahan to return as coach of the Redskins, Santana Moss and Robert Griffin III took different approaches.
Moss, a veteran receiver, gave a solid vote of confidence to the coach who has a 24-36 regular-season record near the end of the fourth year of a five-year contract, while the young franchise quarterback’s response was hardly campaign-speech material.
‘‘The grass ain’t always greener,’’ Moss said. ‘‘I've always lived by that, learned from my father. At the end of the day, this is RG’s second year, and it wasn’t the second year that [any] of us hoped for. He had to deal with an offseason of just rehabbing and getting himself back, so you almost automatically got to feel that you have to give him another chance to really show that this offense can be ran the way it should be under him and these coaches.’’
Griffin’s answer was more circumspect.
‘‘Everyone’s going to have an opinion,’’ he said. ‘‘And it’s an outside opinion . . . Whenever you have a year like we’re having, sitting at 3-9, we had higher hopes and higher expectations, people are going to try to sink the ship and our job is not to focus on that stuff.’’
Pressed specifically for his opinion about the coaching staff and the future, Griffin replied: ‘‘I think these guys have a great future, and I love having them here, and that’s all I can say.’’
Browns’ Desmond Bryant out
Browns defensive end Desmond Bryant’s season has ended because of an irregular heartbeat that will require surgery. Bryant, who signed a five-year, $34 million free agent contract in March, reported symptoms on Monday morning, a team spokesman said. Bryant played in Sunday’s game against Jacksonville and was credited with four quarterback pressures. The Browns said Bryant will undergo ‘‘a minor heart procedure’’ this week. He is expected to make a full recovery and resume his playing career . . . Tight end Tony Moeaki will get what’s essentially a four-week tryout to show he’s healthy after being signed by the Bills on Wednesday. The former Chief has been out since breaking his shoulder in Kansas City’s preseason win over Pittsburgh Aug. 23. He was then released by the Chiefs after reaching an injury settlement in October. Moeaki gained prominence during his rookie season in 2010, when he had 47 catches for 556 yards and three touchdowns. His career has since been slowed by injuries, including a torn left ACL that forced him to miss the 2011 season . . . Guard Harvey Dahl returned to Rams practice after missing four games with a left knee injury and expects to play Sunday at Arizona . . . The death of a Missouri man in an Arrowhead Stadium parking lot during Kansas City’s game last weekend was ruled a homicide, but police said it could still take weeks before they know what killed him.