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Steelers

Steelers, Tomlin reach contract extension

| Tuesday, July 24, 2012, 2:16 p.m.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during his weekly news conference on the South Side Dec. 27, 2011. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during his weekly news conference on the South Side Dec. 27, 2011. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin and Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert watch practice at St. Vincent College July 30, 2011. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin and Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert watch practice at St. Vincent College July 30, 2011. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)

The Steelers locked up a vital part of their team with a long-term deal just hours before the start of training camp, but it wasn't the one that has been much-anticipated.

The Steelers signed Mike Tomlin to a three-year extension that will keep him coaching the team through the 2016 season and will now concentrate on a deal with disgruntled wide receiver Mike Wallace heading into the start of training camp Wednesday.

Tomlin was entering the final year of his contract, although the team had an option for 2013. The organization has historically extended their coaches with two years left on their current contract.

“I am excited that I will continue to be the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers for years to come,” Tomlin said in a statement released by the organization. “I am grateful to the Steelers organization for the opportunity I have been given over the past five years to work and live in this great city, and I am excited to continue to work to bring another championship to the Steelers and the city of Pittsburgh.”

Financial terms of the three-year extension weren't released, but Tomlin was the seventh-highest paid NFL coach for this season and was set to make $5.5 million, according to Forbes magazine.

New England's Bill Belichick led the list, earning $7.5 million this upcoming year followed by Washington's Mike Shanahan ($7 million), St. Louis' Jeff Fisher ($7 million), Seattle's Pete Carroll ($7 million), Chicago's Lovie Smith ($6 million) and Arizona's Ken Whisenhunt ($5.75 million).

“Mike is one of the top head coaches in the National Football League and we are thrilled he will continue to lead our team as we pursue another Super Bowl title,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said.

Tomlin has won 10 games in four of his first five seasons, won three AFC North titles and qualified for the playoffs four times. He became the youngest coach to win the Super Bowl when the Steelers beat Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII.

“He gets it and the Rooneys see that,” cornerback Ike Taylor said on his weekly show on TribLive Radio. “He is a great manager and not everybody can manage 75 grown men. It is hard to do. He lets his coaches coach and when he needs to step in, he will.”

In Tomlin's five years, he has guided the Steelers' defense to the NFL's top ranking in total defense three times.

Tomlin is just the third head coach the Steelers have had since 1969 following Chuck Noll (1969-1991) and Bill Cowher (1992-2006).

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mkaboly@tribweb.com

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