TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Players pleased with Tomlin's deal

Steelers/NFL Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, July 26, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
 

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 rpaulk@tribweb.com or 412-320-7923.

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.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Chaz Palla | Tribune Review</em></div>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' Byron Leftwich speaks to the media as he arrives to camp at St. Vincent College July 25, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Chaz Palla | Tribune Review</em></div>The Steelers' Byron Leftwich speaks to the media as he arrives to camp at St. Vincent College July 25, 2012.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Steelers

  1. Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
  2. Steelers LB Timmons has grown into leadership role on defense
  3. Inside the Steelers: Ventrone suffers right ankle injury
  4. Steelers notebook: Backup QB Gradkowski remains out with shoulder issue
  5. IOC urges US to come up with another bid city for 2024 Games
  6. Rossi: St. Vincent a football sanctuary during Steelers training camp
  7. Steelers RB Bell ready despite being in limbo
  8. Steelers tackle Beachum braces for competition along offensive line
  9. Butler, Steelers defense take on new challenges
  10. Steelers’ offense outshines defense like never before
  11. Steelers notebook: Rookie CB Golson still dealing with left shoulder pain