ShareThis Page

Players pleased with Tomlin's deal

| Thursday, July 26, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
The Steelers' Byron Leftwich speaks to the media as he arrives to camp at St. Vincent College July 25, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
Coach Mike Tomlin was forced to move practice to the Steelers' indoor facility on the South Side because of rain on Sunday. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

The Steelers are expected to transition rather easily from one of the oldest teams in the NFL to one with several young players who will affect the team's hopes of making another playoff run.

Of course, the key to the team's success or failure depends largely on how well coach Mike Tomlin manages his personnel, including the team's top draft picks — offensive linemen David DeCastro and Mike Adams.

Steelers president Art Rooney II is convinced Tomlin is the man for the long haul. So he inked the 40-year-old to a three-year contract extension through the 2016 season.

“I'm honored the contract extension got done,” Tomlin said after putting the Steelers through conditioning tests Wednesday at St. Vincent College.

Tomlin, who led the Steelers to victory against Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII, is likely to be driven this season by his team's bitter playoff defeat to Denver in January. He may have nothing to prove after two Super Bowl appearances, but the players sense he's hungry to secure the Steelers a seventh title.

“Everyone knows what kind of guy (Tomlin) is, and he's probably going to be around here for a long time,” backup quarterback Byron Leftwich said. “To me, he's one of the best coaches I've ever been around. Evidently the Rooneys believe that also. We all know what we have in Coach Tomlin.”

Doug Legursky, who split time at guard and center last season, said Tomlin's extension reflects the team's dedication to continuity.

“He's a great coach and well deserving of that contract extension,” he said. “The Steelers are a team that always keeps its coaches for a long time, especially with the record he has and the intensity he brings to the team.

“(The Steelers) are always thinking about keeping continuity intact. As players we've had a good relationship with Coach Tomlin and vice versa. He embodies the Pittsburgh Steelers perfectly, so it's not surprising he'll be around.”

Tomlin earned the extension, in part, because the Steelers finished 12-4 last season. And the Steelers advanced to the postseason for the fourth time in five seasons.

“I hope as long as I'm here, he's here,” said second-year defensive end Cameron Heyward, last year's No. 1 draft pick. “I'm going to work at getting my extension.”

Again, the Steelers will rely heavily on a defense that three times has been ranked No. 1. Yet even with DeCastro and Adams expected to strengthen the offensive line, Tomlin is without two pivotal offensive threats: wide receiver Mike Wallace (contract holdout) and running back Rashard Mendenhall (knee injury).

Tomlin said he's prepared to work with what he's got. Unlike last season's camp, he has plenty of depth on the offensive line.

“We've got a lot of good competition on the line,” Legursky said. “We're all about figuring out what it takes to win ballgames.”

Ralph N. Paulk is staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-320-7923.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.