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Subtle Tomlin sets record straight


We have been interested in Mike Tomlin’s side of the story when it comes to the firing of Bruce Arians and the subsequent hiring of Todd Haley – both which appear from the outside to have Art Rooney’s fingerprints all over them.

In a 255-word, 2-minute opening statement introducing Haley as the team’s offensive coordinator on Thursday, Tomlin addressed the ever-growing sentiment that he had little to do with the hiring of Haley.

Oh, it was subtle, but it was there.

First, Tomlin introducing the hiring of a coach with a press conference is unusual; Rooney not being present for the news conference even though he was in building is also unusual; and Tomlin standing off in the corner smiling like a proud papa while Haley addressed questions was also unusual.

But make no mistake about it, Tomlin’s opening remarks were very contrived.

Maybe he took a page out of Wes Welker’s book from last year when the New England receiver made something like 11 subtle foot reference in light of Jets coach Rex Ryan’s foot fetish viral video?

Tomlin wanted to make it known (believable or not) that he hired the offensive coordinator and not the owner.

He chose subtlety over directness.

I announce …”
I thought …”
“… Intangibles that I really value.”
“When I started this process …”
I talked to a lot of people …”
I was really impressed …”
“… I have been attracted to in the past.”
I will always be interested …”

Eight times in the first 131 words out of Tomlin’s mouth was “I”.

You think he was trying to make a point?

But again, what did we expect him to say?

Even if Haley was pushed on Tomlin, it doesn’t really matter now.

What matters for the Steelers is that they find a way for everybody to co-exist, and Tomlin took that first step on Thursday with his words.

Too bad nobody was listening.

* There is no way that anybody can speak intelligently about what kind of affect Haley will have on the Steelers’ offense.

If the organization isn’t sure what the playbook is going to look like right now, how can anybody else pretend that they do?

What we do know about Todd Haley is that he plays to his personnel. And the Steelers current personnel say they throw first and pass second.

* So Haley is a no nonsense type of coach?

OK, and Sean Kugler isn’t? John Mitchell isn’t? Keith Butler isn’t? Mike Tomlin isn’t?

Didn’t Dick LeBeau go after Anthony Smith in Carolina a few years back?

There is fear that out there that Haley and Ben Roethlisberger will get into shouting matches on the sidelines during games.

Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Time will tell.

Roethlisberger isn’t someone who should be worried about. He will be good and Haley will make him better.

Haley’s biggest impact, or who his no-nonsense approach is really going to benefit, are the Steelers young and impressionable wide receivers.

You have three young kids – Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders — who had success early in their careers, and they just might need a good rubberneck or two to keep them in line.

 Mark Kaboly
2/10/2012 at 12:46 p.m.




Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly is the Pittburgh Steelers beat writer for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 300 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as four Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa, XLV in Dallas and 50 in San Francisco. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer; daughter Briella; and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug

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