Steelers’ Mike Tomlin Abruptly Ends Press Conference After Bills Loss

Mike Tomlin

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin walked off the podium as he was about to receive a question about his contract situation.

Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers is known as a wordsmith. But as the cliché goes, actions speak louder than words.

Tomlin answered five questions in his postseason press conference after the Steelers lost to the Buffalo Bills, 31-17, in the AFC wild-card round. But there appeared to be a sixth question coming about his contract. Tomlin will enter the offseason with only one year left on his current deal.

But as Tomlin appeared to hear where the question was going, he walked away from the podium.

“Mike Tomlin leaving podium when asked about having a year left on his contract,” Steelers Depot posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Steelers’ Mike Tomlin Walks Out on Contract Question

It’s been an interesting couple months for the Steelers head coach. When the team suffered a three-game losing streak in December, which jeopardized its playoff hopes, local Steelers media speculated that Tomlin could be fired or traded after the season.

However, when the Steelers won their final three games to clinch a playoff spot, the speculation didn’t end. ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown on January 7 that Tomlin could elect to leave the Steelers.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio had a similar report on January 13. Florio said during halftime of the first NFL wild-card matchup that Tomlin is planning to “take a step back with his family” after the season to determine his future.

With those reports in mind, ESPN’s Brooke Pryor (it sounds like her voice at the end of the press conference) appeared to want Tomlin to comment on his future. But clearly, he wanted no part of the question.

Tomlin became the longest-tenured head coach in the NFL when Bill Belichick departed from the New England Patriots on January 11. In 17 seasons, Tomlin has amassed a 173-100-2 regular season record. He is also 8-10 in the postseason with a Super Bowl win.

Tomlin Entering Final Year of His Contract

It’s unusual for the Steelers to allow one of their head coaches to enter the final year of their contract. But the last time Tomlin received a contract extension in 2021, he had just a year remaining on his deal, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac.

Dulac reported in July 2023 that Tomlin wasn’t going to receive a new contract before the season, but Dulac suggested that the Steelers planned to offer an extension to Tomlin ahead of 2024.

The reports from Schefter and Florio have casted doubt over whether Tomlin will accept the offer. By walking out on the potential question on January 15, Tomlin also did nothing to end those rumors.

But there’s also a strong chance that Tomlin was frustrated to be receiving a question about his future immediately after losing a playoff matchup. Coaches live in the moment, and Tomlin may simply not be in offseason mode yet.

Maybe Tomlin truly is planning to think about his future after the season. But rather than saying that, which could lead to more rumors, he walked out on the question.

There are numerous possibilities for why Tomlin didn’t want to talk about his contract. But the only thing fans know for sure is he didn’t want to talk about it.

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