Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin spoke at the AFC Coaches Breakfast while at the NFL Owners Meetings.
And on the menu, were the following:
- Being social: Tomlin isn’t one that takes social media lightly, and uses it only when he deems appropriate. He recently tweeted a message to running back
DeAngelo Williams, who had made comments about recently retired quarterback Peyton Manning that drew criticism from many.
“I don’t know if it was the first time I ever had to do it,” said Tomlin. “I love DeAngelo, we love DeAngelo. Those of us who spend any time around DeAngelo understand his nature and understand he meant nothing by that. He just tried to spur critical thought or have an emotional, spirited discussion. I just think it wasn’t necessarily appropriate, given the impact of Peyton Manning’s career. A lot of people wouldn’t take it as such, a lot of people don’t know DeAngelo, so I just suggested that he quit while he’s behind.”
Tomlin said that basically it’s all in the rear view mirror now, and that he and Williams have talked multiple times since.
“He called me with his kids and they sang me Happy Birthday on my birthday,” said Tomlin. “You know DeAngelo, he’s DeAngelo. He’s an awesome member of our team, a great teammate and I wish everybody had an opportunity to know him on a personal level. If they did, then they would realize he meant no harm by that exchange.”
- Rehab progressing: Running back Le’Veon Bell continues to spend time with the Steelers’ athletic trainers, working his way back from an MCL injury suffered last season. Tomlin is pleased with the progress, and is not putting a timetable on his return.
“I feel good about where he is, in terms of the rehab,” said Tomlin. “I haven’t had a specific update in recent weeks because there’s not an urgency around that right now. As we get closer to some level of participation, I’ll start asking questions. Right now, he’s got a smile on his face when he communicates with me about the nature of his rehab. He feels good in a Le’Veon Bell sort of way. He’s Superman in his mind and that’s one of the things that makes him Le’Veon Bell. Obviously, we look forward to having him back.”
Tomlin said he would love to have Bell healthy for a full 16-game season after losing him the last two years, but knows what the reality of the game is.
“I think I need everybody to be healthy for 16 games, but I’m not going to get that,” said Tomlin. “That’s just football.”
More from Tomlin:
On the dilemma at nose tackle, where the position is not being used as much anymore:
“There is no dilemma, to be honest with you. We were in over 70% of sub-package football last year, meaning that offenses had three wide receivers and we had five or more defensive backs over 70% of the time. To make decisions with base defense in mind is not really realistic. The most significant downs in today’s NFL, usually you employ three or more wide receivers on offense and sub-package on defense. If you look at highlights on weekends, the possession downs, the red zone plays, the explosion plays, oftentimes they are under those circumstances.”
“James is not going to shortchange himself. He is not going to shortchange the game of football. I believe him when he says he is going through a process to see his overall readiness and potential effectiveness. He knows what he is doing. He has been doing it for a long time. He knows whether or not his body can do what he needs it to do. I respect that mentality. It’s really an unselfish mentality when you think about it. He doesn’t want to let his football team down in any way, and more importantly than that, he wants to make sure that he is capable of leading this team in the ways that he has done in the past. I don’t think any of us are going to be surprised if he is capable though, because I know James.
“I am not going to put a gun to his head. I am not going to ask him to do much in Latrobe, anyway. Let’s be honest, he is over there on field No. 8 in training camp, so he doesn’t hurt any of the kids.”
On his thoughts on Tony Dungy, who he worked for in Tampa, being enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year:
“I smile. I don’t know that I have words. Having been around the man and personally felt his impact, I obviously think that he is worthy of the recognition. I am honored to have been associated with him. I am happy and excited for him. I can’t wait to see his acceptance speech. I know that it is going to be one for the ages, because everything that he’s done, personally and professionally, has been noteworthy in that way.”<
On if he thinks offensive line coach Mike Munchak will be a head coach again:
“We don’t talk about it a lot. I know he laughs about things that I have to do associated with the job, like coming down here to the owner’s meetings, and he is on vacation.”