Steelers give Tomlin three-year extension
The Steelers will have at least one fewer distraction when training camp starts at the end of the month.
The team and coach Mike Tomlin have agreed on a three-year contract extension, squashing any speculation about the latter's long-term future in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers did not comment on the deal that starts after Tomlin's first contract with the team expires and runs through 2014.
Tomlin could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Steelers president Art Rooney II is on vacation and also could not be reached for comment. The Steelers are not expected to officially announce the deal until Rooney returns to work.
Rooney had said several times during the offseason that the team intended to reach an agreement on a new contract with Tomlin, who has led the Steelers to a pair of division titles and is the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl.
However, a disappointing 9-7 record in 2009 and a tumultuous offseason marked by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's conditional six-game suspension for boorish behavior fueled talk about whether Tomlin would coach the Steelers beyond the contract that he signed in 2007.
In the end, the Steelers stayed true to their philosophy of placing a premium on stability at head coach.
"I'm happy for coach," offensive tackle Max Starks said of Tomlin, who is only the third head coach the Steelers have had since 1969. "It's definitely good to know that the leadership is staying in one position."
The Steelers traditionally signed Bill Cowher, the head coach from 1992-2006, to a new contract with two years left on his deal. The two sides did not reach an agreement in 2006, and Cowher stepped down after the season with one year left on his contract.
The terms of Tomlin's new deal were not available. NFL Network reported that he will make an average of $5 million a season starting in 2012.
Tomlin, 38, signed a four-year contract in 2007 with an option for a fifth year for an average of $2.5 million. The Steelers hired Tomlin following s rapid rise through the NFL coaching ranks, picking him over former assistants Russ Grimm and Ken Whisenhunt.
Tomlin is 31-17 since taking over for Cowher, though he faces his sternest coaching challenge yet.
The Steelers will be without Roethlisberger for at least the first four games of the upcoming season. They also lost two key starters on offense when they traded wide receiver Santonio Holmes in March and right tackle Willie Colon went down in late June with a torn Achilles tendon.
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