Steelers’ Najee Harris: NFL officials ‘a little too soft’ in throwing taunting flags
Early on during Sunday’s game at the Los Angeles Rams, Najee Harris’ mouth evoked a warning from the officiating crew that was verbalized to Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Late in the game, the Steelers receivers George Pickens and Diontae Johnson each drew taunting penalties for their actions at the end of a play. Harris believes the officials were a little too sensitive in throwing flags on those plays.
“Receivers and DBs, that’s just normal,” Harris said Wednesday of post-play jawing. “They are gonna do that every play. Sometimes I think (officials) can be a little too soft.
“It’s football. People are gonna talk (crap). ” Harris was generally aware that the Steelers were twice penalized for taunting, fouls that occurred during the fourth quarter of a 24-17 win in Inglewood, Calif.
But that he had trouble reciting any detail about that suggests it wasn’t a significant topic of conversation among the Steelers over the ensuring three days. As Harris noted, the Steelers overcame each of the taunting penalties, ultimately gaining a first down in the ensuing series. Tomlin on Tuesday did not admonish Johnson nor Pickens for their actions as much as he said the team should use the incidents as a teaching moment in learning the tenor of an officiating crew, some of which have much higher tendencies to throw certain types of flags.
The officiating crew headed by referee Craig Wrolstad 11 times threw flags on the Steelers, eight resulting in accepted penalties for 76 yards. Both were season highs for the Steelers, who additionally had a would-be sizable gain on a Rams pass interference call that was wiped out by Johnson’s taunting penalty. “That’s just something we can fix easily, discipline,” said Harris, who was a co-captain of the team last season.
“We just have to strike a balance between, when is it too much? And see where we are at, situational. That was a time when we were trying to close out the game, and penalties, we didn’t want that. ” Hey, Steelers Nation, get the latest news about the Pittsburgh Steelers here.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at cadamski@triblive. com or via Twitter .