Here's another adjective Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin can call his ill-timed two-step onto the field last Thursday night against Baltimore. The NFL fined 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 New England's 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 he was not penalized, the league said the Steelers should have been flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Aaron Rodgers would rather not let the ''Will he-or-won't he'' questions linger until Sunday. The Packers' franchise quarterback expects a decision Friday -Saturday tops - whether he'll be medically cleared to face the Atlanta Falcons in a game crucial to the team's dwindling playoff prospects. If he can't go, Matt Flynn is back in again. But at least one person thinks Rodgers is a go, even if the Packers themselves aren't sure.
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 contract as a free agent with Cleveland in March, reported symptoms on Monday morning, a team spokesman said. Bryant played in Sunday's game against Jacksonville and was credited with four pressures on Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne. The Browns said Bryant will undergo ''a minor heart procedure'' this week.
The death of a Missouri man in an Arrowhead Stadium parking lot during Kansas City's game this weekend was ruled a homicide Wednesday, but police said it could still take weeks before they know what killed him. Kyle Van Winkle, 30, of Smithville, was unconscious on the ground when police responded to a disturbance call around 5:20 p.m. in Lot A at Truman Sports Complex, where Arrowhead is located. In announcing the Jackson County medical examiner's ruling Wednesday, police spokesman Darin Snapp said that wouldn't change how the case is being handled. Van Winkle, the son of a police sergeant, apparently left the stadium early in the game and went to the parking lot, where he got into a Jeep that looked like the vehicle he came to the game in, Kansas City police spokesman Tye Grant said.
Matt Cassel stepped on the platform, grasped the podium with both hands, looked around and grinned. It's a pretty nice setup,'' Cassel said as he surveyed the makeshift interview area the Minnesota Vikings have set up next to their indoor practice field. ''Anytime you can get more reps it will prepare you for the game plan.'' With Christian Ponder not yet cleared to participate after suffering a concussion, coach Leslie Frazier said Cassel ''more than likely'' will start Sunday at Baltimore. But we're not planning on it.'' Cassel passed for 243 yards in half a game to help the Vikings beat the Bears in overtime.
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