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Santa's antics perplex Tomlin

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By Scott Brown
Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2008

What was supposed to be a light moment during Mike Tomlin's weekly news conference Tuesday turned out to be an uncomfortable one for the Steelers' coach.

Tomlin grudgingly played along as local sports announcer Bill DiFabio, dressed as Santa Claus, passed out gifts and cracked jokes, including ones about other media members who were at the news conference. Among the gifts he presented to Tomlin was a five-pound package of ground beef for nose tackle Casey Hampton.

Tomlin had banished Hampton to the physically unable to perform list in late July for arriving at training camp grossly out of shape.

When DiFabio, who has dressed up as Santa Claus for pre-Christmas Steelers news conferences in past years, asked Tomlin if he would catch a pass from him, the second-year coach said, "If that will get you out of here."

DiFabio's skit, which took on the feel of a roast, lasted more than five minutes. It aired live on Fox Sports News in Pittsburgh, which televises Tomlin's weekly news conference.

The Steelers said that the tradition will be discontinued.

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