Tomlin: Anthony Smith not a thug
Mike Tomlin took exception to a recent newspaper story that referred to free safety Anthony Smith as a thug, and the Steelers coach made it clear that he is still simmering over what he said is a mischaracterization of Smith.
"He's not a thug," Tomlin said at a news conference today. "He's a young professional football player who is trying to be at his best who happens to play the game very physically. I was offended by that reference to him."
Smith is one of the Steelers' fiercest hitters, and he has occasionally belted one of his own teammates in practice even though the team almost never tackles during drills.
Smith collided with Hines Ward last week in practice, knocking the veteran wide receiver to the ground after he had made a catch during a 7-on-7 drill. Ward did not comment after practice on the hit but he clearly wasn't happy about it.
Smith said the two have talked and everything is fine between them.
"He didn't take it personal," Smith said. "He knew it wasn't personal so what is there to be mad at?"
Tomlin said today Smith shouldn't have hit Ward. However, he said a line was crossed when Smith was labeled a thug.
"We understand that perception all of the time is not reality," Tomlin said. "But something things are written or said that are hurtful."
In other news, cornerback Deshea Townsend (groin) won't play Thursday night when the Steelers take on the Bills in Toronto. Others that won't play in the 7:30 p.m. game include free safety and Woodland Hills graduate Ryan Mundy (ankle), linebacker Mike Humpal (stinger), defensive tackle Kyle Clement (knee) and strong safety Troy Polamalu (hamstring).
Byron Leftwich, who signed with the Steelers Sunday, will play against the Bills, Tomlin said.
The Steelers signed Leftwich to back up starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after Charlie Batch broke his right collarbone.
Tomlin said Roethlisberger and the first-team offense will play more than they did in the team's preseason opener last Friday.
Justin Hartwig will work with the starters while Sean Mahan will play with the second-team offensive line. The two are battling for the starting job at center.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- In reworking contract, Steelers WR Brown gets hefty pay raise
- Steelers trying to get missing defensive pieces on field
- Steelers running back eager to prove he can help bridge gap to Bell
- Steelers notebook: New kicker Scobee relishes opportunity
- RB Williams believes he’s making seamless transition to Steelers
- Steelers’ Tomlin disappointed by Bryant suspension
- QB Vick hits ground running in debut
- Steelers WR Bryant’s suspension upheld
- Steelers trade 6th-round pick for Jaguars kicker Scobee
- Steelers notebook: LB Harrison believes Goodell will prevail in Brady ruling
- Big plays cost Steelers defense in preseason loss at Bills