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Around the AFC Coaches' breakfast

PHOENIX – Coach Mike Tomlin can't put a value on the effect that exposure to James Harrison and his maniacal work ethic and preparation techniques will have on the Steelers' young linebackers.

"I think it's immeasurable," Tomlin said today during the 2015 NFL Owners Meetings here. "I think James is coming to realize that he is playing alongside a generation of guys who grew up watching him. And for them to get an opportunity to get behind the curtain, if you will, and see how he puts it together, how he prepares, how he gets singularly focused, and how he gets physically and mentally ready to do it, and to do it alongside of him, I think that's really special.

"You don't have unique results without a unique approach. Obviously, James has had a uniquely successful career, and it's because of his approach. And he is having an opportunity to share it with some young players, and I know they are going to benefit greatly from it. That's how it's done in our business. That's how it's done in any business. Best practices are passed down from generation to generation, if you will. I think that's just what is transpiring."

Tomlin admitted to perceiving Harrison as a different breed of cat initially.

"I still do," Tomlin added with a chuckle. "But I think there is a lot to be learned by the average guy from that. If you spend any time watching him do what he does, or anybody who has a great deal of success, you realize that the secret is no secret. His success is steeped in work ethic and preparation. Those guys get an understanding of that by working with him.

"I think that drive and determination is in his DNA, but I also think life experience has taught him the value of what he has, and I think from that standpoint it has enhanced it."

REMEMBERING WHEN: Tennessee Titans Coach Ken Whisenhunt recalled the biggest challenge he initially faced as a play-caller upon becoming the Steelers' offensive coordinator.

"Not getting yelled at by Bill Cowher," Whisenhunt said.

It got easier, Whisenhunt maintained.

"You build trust with players through the OTAs," he explained. "When you're standing up in front of the team, and you're talking about the offensive scheme and you're competing against Coach LeBeau and you're having success on the practice field, that established, I think, credibility, it that's the word.

"You get into a game, you make a call, it goes for a touchdown (and) the players go 'OK.' NFL players, if they think you give them a chance to be better or be successful, they're OK with that, they like that."

Whisenhunt also shared his thoughts on Troy Polamalu: "Special football player. He saw things on the football field that very few guys could see. He processed things at a speed that was incredible, and then he had that explosive burst that he could get there and make those plays."

DESIRED EFFECT: New York Jets Coach Todd Bowles on The Rooney Rule: "I think it helps get you in front of people. Hopefully, your coaching aspirations, regardless of what race you are, help get you where you need to go. But I think it has some effectiveness, yes."

FILLING A NEED: Cleveland Browns Coach Mike Pettine said he found what he was looking for at the quarterback position in Josh McCown.

"I think you've got to dig a little deeper than the numbers to (get to) the person," Pettine said. "That move we felt stabilized the position. When you talk about getting ourselves a top-five quarterback, those are not things where you run down to the corner market, and there it is. We wanted to stabilize it, and we feel we did with Josh."

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