Zierlein apologizes for sending raunchy e-mail to Goodell, NFL employees

Updated: May 31, 2007, 7:12 PM ET
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Larry Zierlein apologized Thursday for accidentally e-mailing an explicit sex video to numerous NFL employees, including league commissioner Roger Goodell.

Zierlein said the incident has been difficult for him and his family and that he intends to use his team-issued computer only for football business from now on. He sent a note of apology to all NFL employees and those with the Steelers who received his raunchy e-mail.

"It's hard because I made an inexcusable mistake," Zierlein said, discussing the matter for the first time. "It was hard first for the organization. They had to explain and go through ... and my family, for what they're going to have to hear. So it was tough, but when you've been at this stuff for as long as a lot of us have, tough things happen and you've got to move on and that's what we're doing."

The incident is the first blemish on new Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and his staff, and it clearly bothered team chairman Dan Rooney -- a Hall of Fame executive and one of the league's most respected owners. It is uncertain if the Steelers, or the NFL, will discipline Zierlein, though Rooney has talked to him.

"I'd rather just keep it within," Zierlein said, asked what the Steelers said to him. "I will say this is a very supportive organization."

The problem occurred two weeks ago when Zierlein -- a 61-year-old grandfather -- intended to forward the video clip, which was e-mailed to him by another Steelers employee. However, Zierlein accidentally e-mailed the video to numerous league personnel, causing staff members with other NFL teams to begin discussing the foul-up.

"It was 100 percent unintentional," Zierlein said. "I don't even know how to mass e-mail. I don't know these machines very good, it was just a 100 percent unintentional thing. Hit the wrong button. It's something I really regret for obvious reasons: for the organization, for my family, for the whole thing. It's been a tough deal, but it's like anything else. You learn from it and you move on."

Zierlein did not explain why, when after he initially viewed the video he didn't delete it rather than attempting to e-mail to someone else.

"I'm not very good at these machines and I hit the wrong button," Zierlein said. "There's nothing else to say, no other explanation."

Zierlein was hired in January after Tomlin replaced Bill Cowher as coach. Zierlein has been a coach since 1970, working at the Texas high school level, collegiately at Houston, Cincinnati, Tulane and LSU, and in the NFL with the Bengals, Bills, Browns and Steelers.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press