Tomlin on alleged spying: 'Where's there's smoke, there's fire'
By ALAN ROBINSON
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Steelers coach Mike Tomlin isn't surprised a New England Patriots employee is suspected of videotaping signals by Jets coaches during Sunday's season opener.
Spying rumours in the NFL are nothing new, Tomlin said Tuesday, and he wouldn't be surprised if the allegations were true.
"Usually where there's smoke, there's fire, so those rumours are founded on something," said Tomlin, an NFL assistant coach for six years with Tampa Bay and Minnesota before being hired by Pittsburgh. "No, it's not totally shocking, no."
NFL security confiscated a video camera and tape from a Patriots employee during New England's 38-14 victory Sunday, ESPN.com reported. The employee was accused of aiming his camera at the Jets' defensive coaches as they signalled to players on the field.
Last season, the Green Bay Packers had an issue with a man wearing a Patriots staff credential who was carrying a video camera on their sideline.
Tomlin did not say he suspects the Patriots of spying - the Steelers and New England meet on Dec. 9 - but said all NFL coaches are aware of and protect against subterfuge.
"You hear rumours of things of that nature, but there's nothing new in terms of confirming it," he said. "It's never been confirmed in any incidence in my knowledge."
The lone first-year NFL coach to win his opener last weekend, Tomlin said the Steelers have methods to protect against spying, but he wouldn't reveal them.
"We like to keep our methods private so we can continue to be successful," Tomlin said. "We don't spend a lot of time worrying about that, but we are sharp enough to protect ourselves versus the potential of something like that happening against us.
"Really, this is nothing new. You see offensive play callers covering their mouths, that's been going on for a long time, and that's the reason that's done."
The Steelers (1-0), trying to open 2-0 for only the second time since 1999, play their home opener Sunday against Buffalo (0-1), a team dealing not only with a last-minute loss to Denver but a catastrophic injury to tight end Kevin Everett.
Everett severely injured his spinal cord and is unlikely to walk again following a helmet-to-helmet hit with Denver's Domenik Hixon during the second-half kickoff. Everett lay motionless on the field as his teammates held hands at midfield and prayed.
"Incidents like that are so much bigger than football," Tomlin said. "It's tough to deal with, I imagine, and it's sent some shockwaves around this league, not just in Buffalo. I wish that young man the very best."
Despite their situation, Tomlin doesn't expect the Bills to be any less competitive on Sunday. Buffalo led Denver 14-6 in the second half Sunday, only to lose 15-14 on Jason Elam's 42-yard field goal with one second remaining.
"I'm sure it's tough to deal with on a personal level, those things always are," Tomlin said of Everett's injury. "But those are guys are professionals, and I expect those guys to get it together from a professional standpoint and be ready to play Sunday."