Mike Tomlin’s player discipline philosophy continues to evolve and in the right direction.
- Sure, LeGarrette Blount’s 12 carry, 78 yard, 2 touchdown performance in New England might suggest otherwise.
But don’t be fooled Steelers Nation. Tomlin made the right decision by cutting LeGarrette Blount in the blink of an eye, as the move marked departure from past practice.
Compared to say, the Marv Lewis of the Bengals, Tomlin has had to deal with relatively few discipline issues. Some such as the decisions on James Harrison and Cedric Wilson or to trade Santonio Holmes, weren’t his to make alone.
However, decisions which, at least one the outside, do appear to have been Tomlins:
- In 2008, Holmes got arrested, and Tomlin suspended him for 1 game
- In 2010, Jeff Reed got into an altercation with a police officer, and Tomlin did nothing
- In 2012, Alameda Ta’Amu went on a drunken rampage on the South Side, and Tomlin suspended him for 1 game
- Later in 2012, Rashard Mendenhall failed to show up for the Chargers game, and Tomlin suspended him 1 game
Most of what goes on in NFL locker rooms stays out of the public eye, even in this age of social media and the never ending news cycle. Case in point, Joey Porter tirade against Ben Roethlisberger in 2006 didn’t reach the light of day until the word “Midgeville” entered the vernacular in Steelers Nation.
But Blount had had public issues, and by Ed Bouchette’s account, had become “a problem” in the Steelers locker room. While declining talent has been a the heart of the Steelers recent back-to-back 8-8 seasons, a leadership deficit contributed too.
- Absent Hines Ward, “Young Money” looked to have all the value of a “sub-prime mortgage” by the end of 2012.
There is perhaps no bigger sin than abandoning your teammates. After the Steelers 2010 playoff win over the Ravens, Ben Roethlsiberger shared how Flozell Adams picked himself up off a gurney in the 4th quarter, attempting to go back in. That’s the type of closeness that wins championships, (even if the Steelers fell short in Super Bowl XLV).
- Blount’s going AWOL just as the Steelers were closing out victory on the Titans is the exact opposite.
Such selfish attitudes should not and cannot be tolerated, and Mike Tomin made that clear when he cut Blount.