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Steelers notebook: Mike Tomlin upset with 'scoreboard watching' on William Gay's penalty

Joe Rutter
| Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, 5:48 p.m.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin stands over the Browns' Ricardo Louis after Louis took a hit from William Gay during the third quarter Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. A late flag was thrown for unnecessary roughness on Gay.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin stands over the Browns' Ricardo Louis after Louis took a hit from William Gay during the third quarter Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. A late flag was thrown for unnecessary roughness on Gay.
Steelers corner back William Gay tackles the Browns' Seth DeValve during their game Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, at FirstEnergy Stadium Cleveland, Ohio.
Chaz Palla
Steelers corner back William Gay tackles the Browns' Seth DeValve during their game Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, at FirstEnergy Stadium Cleveland, Ohio.
Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt pressures Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer in the first quarter Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt pressures Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer in the first quarter Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.

Steeler coach Mike Tomlin took no issue with cornerback William Gay being penalized for unnecessary roughness on his jarring hit on Browns receiver Ricardo Louis in the second half. It was the delay in seeing the flag thrown that upset him.

Tomlin said the flag appeared to be thrown after officials watched the play again on the video board at FirstEnergy Stadium.

“That's why I was irate,” Tomlin said.

Gay hit Louis in the head and shoulder area, and the Browns receiver was examined for a potential concussion but was cleared to return.

“I'm a big player safety guy. I'm on the competition committee,” Tomlin said. “Very rarely are you going to hear arguments from me regarding calls relative to that, provided they are done in real time. I thought they called it off the JumboTron, and I won't accept that.”

Tomlin didn't side with linebacker Ryan Shazier and a belief that his late hit on quarterback DeShone Kizer was because of a late slide by the rookie quarterback.

“Ryan thought wrong,” Tomlin said.

Catastrophic calls

Tomlin called the collection of 13 penalties for 144 yards “catastrophic” and said they interrupted the Steelers' rhythm on both sides of the ball.

On defense, the Steelers were penalized four times for unnecessary roughness, once for pass interference and another for holding. Gay's penalty and the pass interference call against Sean Davis came on third downs.

“I appreciate the spirit with which our guys play, the energy,” Tomlin said, “but it's reasonable as professionals to ask those guys to play hard and smart. We need to see that, and we need to see that immediately.”

On offense and special teams, the Steelers had five holding penalties, and Le'Veon Bell was cited for an illegal peelback. Tomlin, though, was disappointed with the delay-of-game penalty early in the second quarter.

“We cannot have presnap penalties,” he said. “It's reasonable to expect presnap penalties to be zero, and it wasn't that.”

Roster move

Linebacker Steven Johnson, who was released Friday to make room for Le'Veon Bell's return to the 53-man roster, was re-signed Tuesday. The Steelers “terminated” linebacker L.J. Fort, who played one snap on defense and 19 on special teams against the Browns.

Fort has practice squad eligibility remaining.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jrutter@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

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