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BEN’S ADMISSION CONFLICTS WITH TOMLIN’S AMBIGUITY

Lost in the media’s collective lips-to-buttocks routine regarding Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is the contradiction arising from Roethlisberger’s stunning admission to NBC’s Andrea Kremer that last week he had an X-ray “somewhere” and Tomlin’s coy non-denial denial regarding the question of whether Roethlisberger had been X-rayed at all. Based on the quotes distributed from Tomlin’s Monday press conference, no questions were asked regarding the obvious conflict between Ben’s confession and Tomlin’s “not that I heard” response to pool reporter Peter King. As we surmised last week, Tomlin likely used ambiguous terms because he suspected that, at some point, Roethlisberger would let it slip that, indeed, he had an X-ray. Bottom line? The Steelers did their damnedest to cover up Roethlisberger’s true status -- not because there as any concern that Roethlisberger wouldn’t play, but in order to prevent an even larger target from being affixed to Roethlisberger’s midsection during Super Bowl XLIII. Though Tomlin might now say that he didn’t lie because he actually didn’t know about the X-ray, we’d love to borrow Mike Shanahan’s personal polygraph machine for a few minutes. And while we supported Tomlin being hired and we think Tomlin’s a great coach and we believe that the Steelers are the Team of the Century, stuff like this drives us nuts because it represents an ongoing invitation to gamblers and other potentially shady characters to begin supplementing the income of the guys who scrub the toilets in exchange for inside information that, despite the stated rules of the NFL, isn’t landing on the injury report. We know that plenty of you will complain about the fact that we’re again complaining about this issue. But our paramount concern is the integrity of the game. And the integrity of the game remains at risk until the NFL takes meaningful action aimed at preventing this kind of crap.