Several New York Jets players took exception to Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell diving over the line of scrimmage on the second to last kneel down of the game Sunday, but the defensive player has since defended his actions.
“I don’t really care anything about what they’re saying,” Mitchell said, according to steelers.com. “I’m going to do what ‘Coach T’ (Mike Tomlin) tells me to do. He could tell me to run into a wall at 100 miles an hour and that’s what I’m going to do. We thought maybe we could get them to drop the ball, be startled by it. It just didn’t work out that way.”
On the play in question, Jets center Nick Mangold flipped the diving Mitchell over and onto his back and small skirmish then proceeded to take place afterwards.
On Monday, Jets head coach Rex Ryan weighed in on Mitchell’s leap and as expected, he wasn’t happy with it.
“I thought that was kind of bush league,” Ryan said Monday during his media session, according to ESPN.com. “I can understand it in a short-yardage situation; you want to praise the guy for timing it right and all that stuff, there’ s no question. But, in that part of the game, when we’re just kneeling on it, I was surprised by it to say the least and disappointed.”
Ryan didn’t stop there, however.
“I have no idea [if the Steelers coach that], you have to ask them, but I’ve played against them a long time and never seen that before,” Ryan said.
Well, there you go. Mitchell was doing what he was instructed to do. Was it a bit “bush league”, like Ryan said? I can see why he might think that, but there was still 1:13 left in the game when the football was snapped. Had Mitchell indeed forced a turnover with his surprise attack, the Steelers would’ve had the football right near midfield with them needing only a touchdown to tie the game.
Mike Tomlin wasn’t asked about Mitchell’s leap after the game during his post game press conference, so it will be interesting to see if he’s asked to reply to Ryan’s comments when he meets the media again on Tuesday. I’m guessing he will be.