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Likely loss of Steelers draft pick looms because of Tomlin misstep

| Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, 12:56 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin stands on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Dolphins on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, at Heinz Field.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on the sidelines against the Dolphins on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, at Heinz Field.

The Steelers and the NFL refused to confirm the team will be stripped of a late-round draft pick for coach Mike Tomlin's sideline mishap in Baltimore on Thanksgiving.

CBS Sports reported Sunday the league will take a lower-round pick from the Steelers.

The NFL is not expected to announce further Steelers' punishment — Tomlin was fined $100,000 last week — until after the draft order is finalized and compensatory picks are awarded during the league's March meetings.

The team has not been told what the possible punishment will be.

When the NFL announced its punishment for Tomlin's sidestep onto the field and into the vicinity of the Ravens' Jacoby Jones during his 73-yard kickoff return, this language was included:

“Because the conduct affected a play on the field, a modification or forfeiture of draft picks will be considered after the final order of the 2014 draft has been determined.”

The key wording of the statement appears to be “draft picks.” A late-round pick could be one of those picks, but an additional pick might be considered if the Ravens miss the playoffs because of lost points they would have gained had Jones scored.

Point differential is down the list of tiebreakers, and the chances of that coming into play are unlikely.

The NFL is not expected to make any other statement until the draft order is finalized.

The Steelers anticipated a Tomlin fine and possibly a franchise fine, but they did not expect to lose a draft pick, even a low-round selection.

The team anticipates receiving extra draft picks in 2014 as a result of losing Mike Wallace, Keenan Lewis and Rashard Mendenhall in free agency.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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