Steelers’ Mike Tomlin Unveils New Tomlinism


Getty Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during a game last season.

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has had a few months to think of new catchphrases to add to his book of Tomlinisms, and he didn’t disappoint at his first virtual press conference from Steelers training camp.

Asked what he’s telling players—particularly the 21- and 22-year-old players—about remaining responsible off-the-field and protecting themselves from COVID-19, he said he’s using his words, so to speak.

“You guys know I like catchphrases [and] what you’re talking about is conduct detrimental. That’s a term that’s used often in our business and appropriately so, because in this COVID environment, if you’re not exercising discretion and being thoughtful about how you move, that conduct is detrimental—to your cause and to ours collectively. So that’s the message I’m delivering to those guys….”

‘One fail, all fail’

“There has been a lot of work positioning ourselves to be where we are now,” Tomlin continued. “It’s one fail, all fail in this environment, so we are going to continue to package the messaging that way and be very transparent. It is that. It is conduct detrimental to their efforts and ours.”

Building on that thought, Tomlin was also asked about the development of this year’s rookie class—and what might be expected of them in 2020?

“I don’t know that our agenda relative to their development changes. The time in which we have to develop and the access to them is what’s different,” he said. “We have to acknowledge that they probably will be less of a finished product as they step into regular season stadiums in 2020 than they are in normal circumstances, but that won’t be exclusive to our rookies, that will be global.”

As a result, Tomlin said the Steelers will be especially thoughtful about what they ask their rookies to do, particularly early in the season.

“We gotta have a hardcore plan but we also have to be light on our feet and be thoughtful, particularly in terms of what we ask inexperienced players to do as we divvy up and define roles….”

As for which rookies have impressed him thus far, Tomlin said his young players really haven’t had a chance to make an impression yet. “To this juncture there hasn’t been a lot of football. It’s been a lot of teaching, a lot of conditioning and things of that nature.”

Did Ben Roethlisberger throw?

Tomlin was also asked whether Ben Roethlisberger did any throwing on the first day of training camp.

Tomlin said no, and that he was more concerned about spending time with his rookies and young players at this point in time. “We like where he is,” said Tomlin, speaking of Big Ben. “We don’t have any reservations about him being a fluid participant in this training camp process.”

Above all, Tomlin said he’s very happy to have football back.

“We’re glad to get this process started,” he noted. “It’s a unique circumstance but it’s unique for everybody. I know I speak for the group when I express the sentiment that we’re all excited. We miss football, man. We’re glad to get moving.”

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