June 18, 2024

The head coach with the longest tenure in the NFL announced on Thursday that he intends to rejoin the Steelers for a record 18th season, rejecting rumors that he was approaching burnout and might take a step back.

Tomlin gave a shake of his

When asked if he had told anyone that he needed a break, Tomlin shook his head and laughed, “no.” He added that the longer he goes without a win in the playoffs—which now stands at seven years—the more passionate he gets about his work. Tomlin’s career includes a Super Bowl ring.

In Tomlin’s 17 seasons, the Steelers have gone 10-8, never finishing below.500 since he succeeded Bill Cowher in January 2007

But since making it to the AFC championship game in 2016, Pittsburgh has also been caught in a sort of cycle that has included five seasons with eight to ten victories and four early playoff exits.

Tomlin conceded that it doesn’t matter, even though he thinks the Steelers have caught up to the teams participating in the divisional round this weekend.

Yes, it all stinks, Tomlin remarked. It’s not about badness in degrees. Everything is awful. I’d much rather be at work.

Rather, Tomlin will begin preparing for the NFL draft and free agency throughout the upcoming weeks while interviewing candidates for the position of offensive coordinator, who he claimed will come from outside the club.

Tomlin, who signed a contract extension in 2021, is about to reach the last year of it. Shortly after the Steelers’ loss to the Bills, he stormed off rather than respond to a question about it. After three days, Tomlin acknowledged, “I could have handled the situation better than I did,” but he also said he didn’t think it was appropriate to talk about his future at that point.

Pittsburgh will play a role in that future. He didn’t elaborate on whether he would ask team president Art Rooney II for a multi-year contract, but he also said he wasn’t worried about the length—or lack thereof—of a new contract becoming a cause of contention.

Tomlin stated, “I think it will be completed on schedule and in a timely manner.” “But I really think of myself as this football team’s coach.”

For a squad that will have a lot of questions to answer in the upcoming months, Tomlin’s presence might be one of the few certainties throughout an offseason.

The most significant one was at quarterback, where Kenny Pickett had an unsatisfactory first full season as the starter, stuttering as much as shining. Prior to requiring surgery in early December to mend his right ankle, Pickett only threw six touchdowns in 12 games. Although he healed, the 2022 first-round pick watched former third-stringer Mason Rudolph lead the Steelers into the playoffs in the final weeks.

Tomlin commended Pickett’s intangibles and expressed his continued “extreme confidence in Pickett.” However, as he begins his third season, Pickett must also begin to show observable signs of improvement.

Drawing emphasis on the word “huge,” Tomlin stated, “We acknowledge that it is a huge year for him.” However, I’m also looking forward to seeing him wear that part of it because I understand how he’s constructed and wired. I can’t wait to see him go after it.

Rudolph passed for five touchdowns against just one interception in his 3-1 season as a starter. Though Tomlin said the team is considering bringing Rudolph back to face Pickett the following summer, he is also set to become a free agent in March.

“There is evidence of (Rudolph’s) capabilities, and evidence of them under (tough) circumstances, so we’re less speculative about them,” Tomlin stated.

Rudolph passed for five touchdowns against just one interception in his 3-1 season as a starter. Though Tomlin said the team is considering bringing Rudolph back to face Pickett the following summer, he is also set to become a free agent in March.

“There is evidence of (Rudolph’s) capabilities, and evidence of them under (tough) circumstances, so we’re less speculative about them,” Tomlin stated.

  • Backup Mitch Trubisky, who failed in Pickett’s place and will have $8.3 million counted against his salary cap, is unlikely to be considered. Though there’s a chance the Steelers might add an outside veteran quarterback to the mix, they have a lot riding on Pickett and need to know in 2024 if

 

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