A Dispute over the Definition of the Word 'Unacceptable'

A Dispute over the Definition of the Word 'Unacceptable'

I wish I had kept a running count of the number of occasions in which Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie referred to the 2011 season as "unacceptable."

For quite a bit of the lead-up to his eventual defense of Andy Reid, I almost bought in to the remote possibility that the ownership had recognized it was time for a change. There was just something about that word—unacceptable—that kept reverberating back and forth inside my skull.

He kept coming back to it:

—What happened is unacceptable

—Going 8-8 is unnaceptable

—That pool of talent producing that record is unacceptable

Unless, of course, it's all totally acceptable.

I mean, Lurie fully expects this team to be better next year. And not just a little better, he sounded as though he expects the change to be the of the night and day variety.

He also seemed to indicate that the front office would be staying in tact. He then understandably declined to remark on specific roster moves. And though he didn't deny that changes may be made—leaving those matters to Andy's discretion—he also presented himself on multiple occasions as a careful analyst.

Part of that analysis over the past few weeks, as Lurie informed both the media and those fans watching, involved the realization that it took time for this team to gel given the somewhat rushed circumstances generated by the lockout's impact on the preseason. So, bearing in mind their late season improvement, it would stand to reason—seemingly for Lurie—that this, more or less, same collection of parts will enjoy a greater level of success next year.

He also made sure to tell all who listened that there were no excuses, such as the somewhat rushed circumstances generated by the lockout's impact on the preseason.

I understand there are plenty of you out there who are upset, and perhaps even confused by an owner who talks in circles and seems to contradict himself in every attempt to defend his beleaguered head coach.

Just remember, Jeffrey Lurie is fully aware that going 8-8 is unacceptable (but that it's acceptable if it leads to something better).

In closing, as much for my own sanity as I hope for your own, I have provided a list of both synonyms and antonyms for the word "unacceptable," courtesy of the fine people at Merriam-Webster.

Synonyms: bastard, bush, bush-league, crummy (alsocrumby), deficient, dissatisfactory, ill, inferior, lame,lousy, off, paltry, poor, punk, sour, suboptimal, subpar,substandard, bad, unsatisfactory, wack [slang], wanting,wretched, wrong

Antonyms: acceptable, adequate, all right, decent, fine,OK (or okay), passable, respectable, satisfactory,standard, tolerable

Honestly, this whole language barrier thing between Jeffrey Lurie and I would make a lot more sense if there were an actual language barrier involved.

Mike Tomlin: Antonio Brown 'foolish, selfish' for locker room live stream

Mike Tomlin: Antonio Brown 'foolish, selfish' for locker room live stream

PITTSBURGH — The father in Mike Tomlin regrets the language he used to describe the New England Patriots during the postgame speech Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown's opted to livestream on social media after a taut playoff victory over Kansas City.

The coach in Tomlin has just as big an issue with one of his team's biggest stars forcing the Steelers to talk about something other than trying to find a way to finally beat Tom Brady when it counts.

A characteristically blunt Tomlin called Brown's decision to broadcast more than 17 minutes of Pittsburgh's giddy locker room to the world -- a move that caught Tomlin using a handful of profanities -- over Kansas City "foolish," "selfish" and "inconsiderate."

"Not only is it a violation of our policy, it's a violation of league policy, both of which he knows," Tomlin said Tuesday.

"So there are consequences to be dealt with from his perspective. We will punish him. We won't punish us."

Tomlin took responsibility for his choice of words, though he was unaware of being filmed as he spoke.

During Tomlin's brief remarks he attached an expletive to the Patriots, who earned a full day's head start on the Steelers by virtue of beating Houston on Saturday night, 24 hours before Pittsburgh outlasted Kansas City 18-16.

"The responsibility associated with being in this thing, just from a role model standpoint, it's something that I personally embrace," Tomlin said.

"It's something that we as a team and organization embrace. So that's why the language, specifically, in terms of the content, is regrettable."

So too is the action of the talented if sporadically diva-like Brown. The former sixth-round pick has evolved from raw project into one of the NFL's best wide receivers.

This season he became only the second player in league history to post four consecutive 100-catch seasons.

His work ethic is universally lauded even as his Q-rating has skyrocketed. Brown can be found on TV pitching everything from soda to credit cards to video games.

The player who -- for reasons he hasn't yet disclosed -- occasionally refers to himself as "Ronald " also has a devoted social media presence, with more than 1.5 million following on Instagram and another 650,000 on Facebook, many of whom got an eyeful and an earful as the Steelers celebrated their first trip to the AFC title game in six years.

While Tomlin has "very little concern" about the content of the video, he has plenty of concern over Brown's lack of judgment.

"You wear on your teammates when they routinely have to answer questions about things that aren't preparation or football-related," Tomlin said.

"It's our desire for him and for everyone to be great teammates, as well as great players. He is a great player. He is a hardworking player. He is respected, largely, in the locker room for those things. But incidences such as this, don't help him in that regard."

The Steelers have grown accustomed to Brown's flights of fancy, whether it's posing for the Mannequin challenge while meeting with reporters, wearing eye-opening (and fine threatening) cleats or his over-the-top touchdown celebrations.

The fallout this time around has been mixed. Long snapper Greg Warren said Monday "AB is AB, he can do what he wants to do."

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger expressed disappointment in Brown during Roethlisberger's weekly appearance on 93.7 The Fan.

Either way, the fact they were forced to respond to questions about Brown before the biggest game of the season only reinforces Tomlin's point, though Tomlin stressed Brown is hardly the only athlete capable of becoming a distraction.

"Those things don't apply exclusively to Antonio," Tomlin said. "It's a global thing in regards to professional sports. I think that's why oftentimes you see great players move around from team to team.

"And I definitely don't want that to be his story. I am sure he doesn't want that to be his story. So, he has to address these things that put him and us in positions from time to time, in settings such as this, where it needs to be addressed."

Tomlin didn't outline the internal discipline Brown faces other than to say it will not affect his availability this weekend.

New England (15-2) pulled away from the Steelers (13-5) in the second half of a 27-16 victory in Pittsburgh on Oct. 23, a game Roethlisberger missed while recovering from surgery on his left knee.

Roethlisberger will be around this time. And so will Brown, who will almost certainly have his phone turned off late Sunday evening regardless of the outcome.

"He has to grow from this," Tomlin said. "He has to."

Notes
LB James Harrison is dealing with shoulder and triceps injuries and could be limited early in the week. ... TE Ladarius Green remains in the concussion protocol more than three weeks after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit against Cincinnati.

Union draft Chris Nanco, Jack Elliott in third and fourth rounds

Union draft Chris Nanco, Jack Elliott in third and fourth rounds

With an eye on potential, the Union selected two forwards and a defender as they wrapped up the third and fourth rounds of the 2017 MLS draft on Tuesday.

With the 55th overall selection, the Union grabbed Chris Nanco, a Canadian-born forward out of Syracuse. The 5-foot-6 speedster, who led his club with 15 points over his senior season, was listed as a second-round talent on some draft boards.

Moving into the fourth and final round, the Union selected West Virginia defender Jack Elliott with the 77th overall pick. Opposite of the diminutive Nanco, Elliott, out of London, stands at a hulking 6-foot-5. Also listed as a defensive midfielder, Elliott showed a twinge of offense and started all 16 games for the Mountaineers in his senior season, playing a part in eight shutouts over that span.

Back in 2015, the Union moved defender Ethan White to New York City FC for the 82nd overall pick in 2017. That trade finalized on Tuesday when the Union selected productive Spanish forward Santi Moar out of Pfeiffer University. Moar scored 14 goals and 19 assists in 20 games with Pfeiffer as a sophomore in 2016.

Although these picks aren’t guaranteed to be with the club by the end of training camp, the Union will heavily utilize USL affiliate Bethlehem Steel to assist in the development of prospects who do make it.

Without a first-round pick, the Union traded up to select Marcus Epps, an attacking midfielder in the early second round. They also added depth at right back Aaron Jones with the 33rd overall pick.