Steelers’ Mike Tomlin: ‘We can’t do this with hostages; we need volunteers’
In his first public comments in almost 12 weeks, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of the offseason departures of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, “it’s probably best for all parties involved that we go our separate ways.”
Speaking Monday afternoon to reporters who traveled to Arizona for the annual NFL league meetings, Tomlin expressed contentment that two of his former All-Pro offensive stars were now the property of other AFC teams.
Wide receiver Brown was traded to the Oakland Raiders, and running back Bell signed with the New York Jets. Each, in his own way, had publicly expressed a strong desire to leave the Steelers.
“We can’t do this with hostages. We need volunteers,” Tomlin said, according to ESPN. “We need good players, good guys who want to be here. If guys can’t check those boxes, it’s probably best for all parties involved that we go our separate ways.”
Tomlin reportedly spoke with a small group of Pittsburgh-based reporters for 30 minutes — longer than he typically does at any other point during a given year. While Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and president Art Rooney II have each had multiple interactions with media since Brown’s Week 17 fiasco and Bell’s long-awaited foray into free agency, this was the first opportunity for Tomlin to weigh in.
“Relationships run their course,” Tomlin said, according to The Athletic, “and the fact that neither one of them are here speaks to that.”
Characteristically, Tomlin did not seem to want to engage in any sparring.
“’I think it has been highly chronicled, and I think it has been too chronicled,” Tomlin said, per The Athletic. “Some things have been said that may or may not have been true. All I know is neither one of those guys are members of our team anymore.”
Directly addressing Brown’s charges directed at Roethlisberger, Tomlin again declined to comment. Per The Athletic: “(Brown) is no longer a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, so I don’t feel it necessary to comment on his comments regarding things that are in-house.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .