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Dan Rooney always on Tomlin's mind

  • Watching over: Coach Mike Tomlin had a special relationship with late Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, and said training camp won't be the same without him.  

"I think about him quite a bit," said Tomlin. "Important events, reporting up here, you can't help but think about him and the level of excitement that he would have. And I am sure that he is watching us."

Tomlin said that while the team hasn't talked as a whole about honoring Rooney with their play this year, he knows that having a strong season is important to honor his memory, and much more.

"You know that our intentions are to honor him with how we proceed professionally and personally," said Tomlin. "We hadn't talked as a team about performances relative to that and things of that nature. We play, and we play to win, always."

  • Don't forget the 'D': The offense has been getting a lot of attention thanks to an arsenal of weapons, but the Steelers' defense can't be ignored either.

"They are a group on the rise," said Tomlin. "I think that we have the pieces in place to be a dominant group, to be one of the best. That is our level of expectation."

The team has added a lot of young talent on defense as of late, including No. 1 pick T.J. Watt this year and top pick Artie Burns last year.

"I think that's always a part of football, particularly at this level," said Tomlin. "There will always be new faces. There will always be people ascending. There will always be people descending. People coming, people going. We are not seeking comfort in that regard. We are comfortable where that group is. Even the younger ones, we will expect those guys to be positive contributors to our efforts."

Big Al: Tackle Alejandro Villanueva said he didn't want to miss training camp with his teammates, and he won't. Not long before the team took the field for their conditioning test, Villanueva signed a four-year contract.

"He is going to give you his efforts and be prepared to play," said Tomlin. "There were no issues or concerns. It's a great opportunity and a well-deserved extension."

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