Polamalu hit with $10,000 fine for sideline phone call
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Steelers safety Troy Polamalu was fined $10,000 by the National Football League for talking on a cell phone while sitting on the bench during the game against Jacksonville, the league announced Friday.
Mr. Polamalu borrowed a cell phone from a team trainer Sunday to let his wife know he was OK after leaving the game against the Jaguars with concussion-like symptoms. League rules state: "possession of cell phones, [personal digital assistants] or other electronic equipment in the bench area during a game is strictly prohibited by league policy beginning 90 minutes before kickoff through the end of the game."
Mr. Polamalu said he had no comment on the fine when approached Friday inside the team's locker room after practice. He passed a concussion test earlier this week and will play Sunday against the Cardinals in Arizona.
At his weekly news conference earlier this week, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin defended Polamalu's use of the cell phone.
"He has had a history of concussion-like symptoms in the past," Mr. Tomlin said. "[Mr. Polamalu's wife] was concerned. In this era of player safety, you would think that common sense would prevail in some of these things. It wasn't a personal call. He wasn't checking on his bank account."
Many NFL teams have plans in place to deal with family in the event of injuries. Some teams have designated team personnel to inform family members of players' health after injuries. Those phone calls are made from the press box after front office employees have been updated with information from the sidelines.
The NFL has a long-standing policy on use of electronic equipment during games to protect the integrity of the game. The league does not want coaches or players using electronic equipment to gain a competitive advantage.
In 2006, Jim Mora Jr., then coach of the Atlanta Falcons, was fined $25,000 for calling team officials during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Mr. Mora made the call because he wanted to find out about NFL tiebreaker rules. The Falcons were in contention for a playoff berth that season, and he wanted to know if a tie against the Buccaneers would help or hurt his team's chance of making the playoffs.
The Falcons lost the game in overtime.
During the 2003 season, New Orleans receiver Joe Horn scored a touchdown, then pulled out a cell phone he had placed behind the padding of a goal post. Mr. Horn pretended to make a call during a celebration with teammates. He was fined $30,000.
Before the 2007 season, the NFL instituted the bench area policy because it was concerned about social media, specifically players using Twitter during games.
Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley was not fined for his involvement in a skirmish with Jaguars fullback Greg Jones.
First Published October 22, 2011 12:35 am