By Teresa Varley
Head coach Mike Tomlin didn't get a chance to celebrate the Steelers victory in Super Bowl XLIII in the locker room with his players because of interviews, and he hasn't done much celebrating since because he knows that getting ready for the 2009 season is a key.
Tomlin was asked at the NFL Owners Meetings if winning the Super Bowl made him hungry to win it again.
"Hungry is a word that I've been analyzing here of late," said Tomlin, "It's not hunger that drives me; it's not hunger that needs to drive our football team. Hunger and thirst are things that can be quenched. We have to be a driven group. We have to seek greatness."
Last year Tomlin selected the Cleveland Browns to win the AFC North, but he had a different answer this time around when asked who he thought would win it in 2009, selecting the Baltimore Ravens.
"You have to like Baltimore," said Tomlin. "They won 11 games last year with a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback. They have a good football team. They have a great defense, they have a quarterback who proved he's their quarterback of the future, he's a guy on the rise. You have to respect that."
The Steelers and Ravens met three times last year, including in the AFC Championship game at Heinz Field. The Steelers won all three games.
"It's great to be a part of something like that," said Tomlin. "We have a great deal of respect for those guys, the competitors, the spirit. When you think about the matchup I think it indicates the reflection of the leadership. When you talk about guys like Ray Lewis, James Farrior, (Derrick) Mason, (Hines) Ward -- those games play out the way they probably should. And the spirited football play from guys, they have a passion for the game and a willingness to compete, is probably unparalleled."
While many of the younger players are working out on a regular basis, most of the team's veterans are not taking part in the voluntary offseason workouts, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. But there is no need to worry. That's the way it was planned to give those who had a longer season a little more rest.
"He's not throwing much, which is what he normally does at this time of year," said Tomlin."It's a discussion we have, but it's a discussion we probably don't have to have. He is a veteran football player. I've got a great deal of confidence that he knows what he has to do to be ready."