Steelers' Tomlin: No worries over bounties
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Commissioner Roger Goodell's determination to rid the NFL of bounties won't impact the Steelers, coach Mike Tomlin said.
"It's not something that's been a part of our culture in any situation I've been in," Tomlin said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. "I don't know what generates that kind of atmosphere."
Whatever the cause, Goodell showed that he won't tolerate the effect.
And he didn't just come down hard on the New Orleans Saints after the NFL found they had violated a rule prohibiting bounties and illegal incentives programs and lied about it during a league investigation.
In addition to heavily fining the Saints, docking them draft picks and suspending coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season, Goodell has authorized every team to send written certification to the NFL by Friday affirming that its owner and coach have met about bounties.
Every team essentially pledges that it is not engaged in bounties or has shut down such practices if they existed.
"It is fair to say that noncontract bonus payments have been happening around the league more frequently than we had liked," Goodell said Monday. "The problem is those payments escalate and you get to what is more specifically referred to as bounties where you are targeting players for injury. I think we will see the end of any noncontract bonus payments. Certainly as it relates to bounty — if you want to put that in the context of targeting opposing players — that's zero tolerance."
Owners and coaches are responsible for what happens in their facility, even if players are secretly collecting and divvying out bonus money among themselves.
Tomlin said he is not concerned because he doesn't expect it will ever be an issue in Pittsburgh.
"Player, health and safety is (Goodell's) No. 1 initiative, and (the Saints) were breaching that, so there's consequences," Tomlin said. "I'm sure all of us understand that."