Mike Tomlin says he has spoken with Anthony Chickillo; Steelers release statement | TribLIVE.com

Mike Tomlin says he has spoken with Anthony Chickillo; Steelers release statement

Joe Rutter
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin stands on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Carson, Calif.
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, left, and Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin greet each other after of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Carson, Calif.

Mike Tomlin said the Steelers take the charges filed against outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo “seriously,” but he would not say whether Chickillo will be permitted to rejoin the team Wednesday.

Chickillo, 26, was charged with simple assault and criminal mischief, both misdemeanors, and harassment, a summary offense, after a domestic incident involving his girlfriend early Sunday morning at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.

The Steelers instructed Chickillo to stay away from the team’s practice facility at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Monday when the players returned from a four-day break. Players were off Tuesday, the day Tomlin meets with the media each week.

Tomlin said he has spoken with Chickillo since the incident, but would not divulge any particulars from the conversation.

“There’s not a lot for us to say or a lot we can say pending the investigation and the sensitivity of the circumstances,” Tomlin said. “It’s obviously something we take very seriously, but I’ll let it ride and that and with the statements that we’ve provided.”

Moments before Tomlin’s press conference, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert released a statement that said the team “will continue to gather information, and we will fully cooperate with the NFL’s investigation.” Colbert said any discipline for Chickillo will be determined “after the gathering of further information from law enforcement and the League Office.”

Asked whether Chickillo would be back on the field for practice Wednesday, Tomlin said, “I’ll leave it at the statement.”

In his fifth season with the Steelers, Chickillo has served as a backup at his position while also being a core special teams player. He avoided free agency by signing a two-year, $8 million contract in March to return to the Steelers.

Chickillo missed three games this season with a foot injury and has one-half sack and one tackle in three games. He played just 44 snaps — or about 10 percent of all defensive plays — this season.

Starting outside linebackers Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt rarely left the field in the first six games, with Dupree playing 92 percent of the defensive snaps and Watt 86. Watt, though, has been bothered by an abdominal injury he sustained against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 6.

The only other backup outside linebacker on the roster, aside from Chickillo, is second-year player Ola Adeniyi, who has played 38 snaps in six games. Another outside linebacker, Jayrone Elliott, was waived prior to the game against the Chargers.

“I’m not feeling great,” Tomlin said when asked about his positional depth, “but such is life in the National Football League. At times, you’re going to be challenged positionally. … It’s part of the team, part of this journey, part of this process. We’ll make do, we’ll make the necessary adjustments whether it’s outside linebacker or anywhere else we might be falling short in terms of depth.

“We’ll fill the group, and we’ll fill the group that is capable of playing winning football.”

Here is some of what Tomlin said at his press conference:

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Steelers
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