Steelers coach Tomlin made call to hire Haley as offensive coordinator
TribLIVE Sports Videos
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Mike Tomlin said the decision to change offensive coordinators was his — not a "directive" from Steelers president Art Rooney II — and expects new coordinator Todd Haley and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to get along "great."
Tomlin, speaking publicly for the first time since Jan. 9 while at a media breakfast for AFC coaches at the NFL meetings, also said during a nearly one-hour chat is that Roethlisberger doesn't need to alter his style.
"I think Ben is Ben, and we're not going to ask him to be someone he's not," Tomlin said.
The sandlot style that has made Roethlisberger a two-time Super Bowl winner has not come without a cost.
Roethlisberger has been sacked at least 40 times every season that he has played 15 or more games. The pounding he has absorbed led Rooney to say in January that the two-time Pro Bowler needs to "tweak" his game.
Tomlin said yesterday Roethlisberger, who turned 30 this month, is not so far advanced in his career that the hits he has taken are an issue.
"That point is somewhere maybe in the future, you acknowledge that," Tomlin said, "but I don't think we're at the point where we think he's diminishing physically to the point where he has to alter his game."
That is not to say Roethlisberger won't have to make changes.
Roethlisberger enjoyed a close relationship with Arians. Now he has to build a rapport with the headstrong Haley, a former head coach who has a reputation for challenging star players, not backing down from them.
Tomlin said the two may have to work through early rough patches, but he expects Roethlisberger to flourish.
"Both guys have a desire to be great at what they do," Tomlin said. "Both guys are singularly focused on winning world championships for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and that's a great place to begin."
Arians had been the Steelers' offensive coordinator since 2007, and he had been with the organization since 2004. Tomlin said Jan. 9, a day after the Steelers' playoff loss in Denver, that he expected Arians to return for the 2012 season.
Arians retired Jan. 20, but he resurfaced less than two weeks later in Indianapolis as the Colts' offensive coordinator. The unseemly transition from Arians to Haley fueled speculation that Tomlin had been ordered — or at least strongly encouraged — by Rooney to make a change after the Steelers finished tied for 21st in the NFL in scoring (20.3 points per game).
"He didn't," Tomlin said. "I hired Todd Haley as well, which is the next question, which is another funny one to me. Don't get me wrong. Art Rooney owns the football team. He can do what he wants to do, but those directives did not happen.
"Bruce served us well and was a really good football coach, but I thought it was time for change. We moved into a situation where we had an opportunity to grow and develop some young talent offensively."
Here is the offseason schedule for the Steelers:
April 16: First day teams are allowed to start lifting program
April 27-29: NFL Draft
May 22-24: First three voluntary practices
May 29-31: Voluntary practices
June 4-7: Voluntary practices
June 12-14: Mandatory minicampAdditional Information:
To see excerpts from coach Mike Tomlin's comments from the AFC coaches' breakfast, go to the Steel Mill blog .
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Brown calls Sanders’ comments about Roethlisberger ‘terrible’
- Steelers hold high hopes for pass defense
- Joe Greene only 2nd player in Steelers history to get number retired
- After years of lobbying, Big Ben has Steelers running the no-huddle
- Steelers offensive linemen looking to build on strong 2013 finish
- Steelers notebook: Ben believes rookie WR Bryant can contribute
- Inside the ropes: Roethlisberger may have his big receiver
- Inside the ropes: Shazier shows off speed
- Steelers are in familiar territory going into training camp in Latrobe
- Steelers hoping that youth movement breathes life into team
- Steelers notebook: Team hasn’t called on Keisel, Harrison yet