Steelers, Mike Tomlin Could Still Part Ways: Report

Mike Tomlin

Getty ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers could still part ways even after making the postseason.

After a three-game winning streak to end the season with a 10-7 record and earn a playoff berth, Mike Tomlin appeared to secure his future with the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on January 7 that Tomlin’s future with the Steelers is potentially still murky.

Schefter argued on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown that Tomlin could elect to leave the Steelers.

“They’re not firing Mike Tomlin, but here’s the thing that’s interesting,” Schefter said, via Awful Announcing. “He’s got a year left on his contract, and there’s some people around the league who believe that Mike Tomlin could decide, eventually, to take some time off like Sean Payton did. Maybe take a year off. We’ll see if that’s something that’s on his mind.

“Mike Tomlin gets to dictate what happens here, not the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’re not firing him. He’s staying on. But he’s staying on if he wants to.”

Tomlin has one year remaining on his contract. If he departed Pittsburgh this offseason, it would be similar to his predecessor’s exit.

Bill Cowher resigned as Steelers head coach after 15 seasons in January 2007 with one year remaining on his contract. Tomlin just finished his 17th regular season.

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Although some Steelers media pundits have called for the team to move on from Tomlin because the team hasn’t been a consistent Super Bowl contender for several years, that probably wouldn’t be a wise move.

Tomlin has posted a 173-100-2 record as an NFL head coach. He’s also never recorded a losing season in 17 years. Tomlin avoided a potential losing season in 2023 thanks to a move to Mason Rudolph behind center.

That, along with his loyalty to wide receiver George Pickens, sparked a 3-game winning streak to end the season.

Clearly, Tomlin still has a great pulse of his team and tremendous respect in the Steelers locker room.

But if Tomlin departs the Steelers this offseason, it could potentially help explain some of the franchise’s offseason decisions.

The Steelers have often offered Tomlin a contract extension with at least two years remaining on his current deal. But that didn’t happen in 2023.

“The Steelers do not intend to extend Mike Tomlin’s contract this year, but that doesn’t mean there is any dissatisfaction or pressure being applied to their 17-year head coach, per sources,” wrote The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac.

It’s important to note, though, that the Steelers waited until Tomlin was entering his final year before offering him his last extension in 2021.

Tomlin knowing this season was going to be his final one in Pittsburgh could also explain why the Steelers kept offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Despite poor offensive play in 2021 and 2022 and tremendous pressure from Steelers media, the team retained Canada for the start of the 2023 season.

But it wouldn’t have made much sense for the Steelers to hire a new offensive coordinator one year before making a head coaching change.

However, that’s pure speculation, as is, quite frankly, parts of Schefter’s report on Tomlin.

When speaking about his contract situation in July 2023, Tomlin didn’t sound like a coach in his last season.

“I haven’t even thought about it,” Tomlin said about a new contract extension, via’s All Steelers’ Noah Strackbein. “I’m just at the stage of my career where I don’t even think about contracts to be honest with you.

“I acknowledged that I’ve seen more days than I’m going to see. That’s just the nature of this thing. I’m appreciative of the opportunity, I’m singularly focused. I’m thankful I’m in a stage in my life and my career that it’s a non-issue for me.”

ESPN’s Adam Schefter Connects Mike Tomlin to NFL Head Coach Openings

As the saying goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. But Schefter appeared to try that with his Tomlin report.

Although Schefter reported Tomlin could leave this offseason, the ESPN insider also included the word, “eventually” in his report. The inclusion of that word appeared to make Schefter less certain that the coach’s departure will happen at the end of the playoffs.

Furthermore, Schefter contradicted himself. After saying Tomlin would leave to take time off, he connected the head coach to job openings for this offseason.

“If he decides that he’d like to walk, well that’s a different subject,” Schefter added. “And maybe there’s a team out there, he’s from Washington, his wife loves Los Angeles, maybe one of them wants to lob a call into the Steelers to see if they could wind up doing something with him.”

One thing is for certain. The NFL media is likely to continue speculating about Tomlin’s future until he agrees to a contract extension or departs this offseason.

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