STEELERS HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN MINI-CAMP MAY 1, 2009
Coach Mike Tomlin:Good afternoon. I thought it was a very productive day for us. These are instructional camps for us, particularly because it is that time of year. It is teaching – giving and receiving information. I thought everybody was upbeat today. Everybody was bushy-eyed and ready to learn. I thought it was productive from that standpoint. We remain injury free, which is another thing we desire to get done with these camps. I really liked the energy and enthusiasm of the group today – the way they approached their business. We focused on fundamentals and techniques, particularly in the morning. We devoted quite a bit of time to that and let the coaches work with their men. Of course we have a lot of young guys that we are interested in growing, teaching and developing. Also, some veteran players who need to re-sharpen their swords, if you will. From that standpoint, it is a good start to our minicamp weekend. We look forward to getting at it again tomorrow.
Can you talk about the Larry Foote situation?
Sure. At this point, I don't think it is prudent for me to go into great detail in regards to what is going on with Larry. I'll just say this – he and I have been in continuous communication. We spoke as late as the top part of this week and we felt that it was the best thing for all parties involved at this point that he not come to this minicamp. In terms of speculation on what is going to happen with him, or when, I don't have a crystal ball, so at this point I think it would be best for me to not comment on that.
Will the team fine Larry?
Absolutely not; we will not fine Larry. He and I mutually agreed that it would be the best thing for all parties if he was not here this weekend.
Did you know going into the draft you weren't going to have Larry?
I don't believe that we were caught unaware. Like I said, we have been in continuous communication with Larry in regards to his situation. At this point, I would like to leave the details of those conversations between him and me.
Who are the candidates to backup Lawrence Timmons at inside linebacker?
All the men who worked in that spot today – Donovan Woods, Keyaron Fox; he has position flexibility, and all the young guys. That is the nature of this thing. We are going to lose some men along the way. Part of us finding our identity and personality in '09 is making the adjustments that come with football. Guys are going to have to step in and play for guys like Bryant McFadden and Nate Washington. That is football. We don't run away from that – we welcome it. That is why we are excited to take the field with the new guys and the old guys.
What position is Patrick Bailey playing?
He is an outside linebacker.
Is it difficult to gauge the success of these instructional weekends?
I don't gauge them because it is not football. It is teaching. That is the way I approach it. It is a good camp if the guys come ready to learn like they did today today, if they hustle and if they don't get hurt like they did today.
Can you use any of the lessons this year that you learned in 2003 coming off of a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
You know you can, but I always caution myself from doing those things because it is a different time, a different place, a different set of circumstances. On a personal note, my approach and mentality in regards to some of the things I can pull from, I'm sure that I will. I'm not going to get enamored with what happened in '03 in a different city with different people in regards to this outfit.
Can you talk about the signing of Shaun McDonald?
We have signed quite a few guys – Keiwan Ratliff – that have played some in the football league. Shaun McDonald has played some. We desire to create competition. The only way that we will be a really good football team is if we have competition and guys competing. That is what it is about – acquiring guys that know what it's about to play in this league and then put those guys in the mix with some others. We have done it in the past. Guys from last year that are back like Fernando Bryant, who has played this game at a high level in this league, I like those guys. They have been around and want to be a part of something that is good and they want to work. I think that the young guys learn from those guys. I think it gives us competition, which makes us all better.
Is Daniel Sepulveda fully recovered?
He is in the process of recovering. I don't know how much we are going to ask him to do this weekend. Probably more important than that, we have some other young men that we acquired like Dirk (Johnson) and Piotr (Czech) who are capable of punting, we want to take a look at them. It is more of an emphasis on getting to know those guys a bit. We know what Daniel is capable of.
Is Greg Warren alright?
He is marching back, but it is not time to play football. We will know when it is time to play football if he is alright.
Is Martin Nance ok?
No, he is being held out at this point. We will have more details later in the weekend or on Monday in regards to his status. Right now, we are going to proceed with some caution until we get some clarity on his situation.
How about Ryan Clark?
Ryan won't be participating at all in the offseason. He is coming off of shoulder surgery. We felt it was prudent to keep him out of the mix because he can't stay away from the contact. I like that about Ryan, I don't like that in May. He is going to put his coaching hat on and help some of the younger guys. We fully expect all of the guys we mentioned, we are not going to have any reservations when it is time to play real football. Now is just not the time.
Will Troy Polamalu return to his private workouts after this weekend?
I don't want to speculate. He might provide me with a pleasant surprise. I don't want to talk him out of it if he plans too.
Are you concerned at all with your depth at safety?
I am concerned with depth at all our spots. A lot of times there are people working that you don't hear about or know about that have been in our program like Ryan Mundy and Roy Lewis who were practice squad guys a year ago. They are very sharp guys who took us threw some quality work last week prior to the draft. They are on the come. Depth is an issue and concern at that position, but we feel if we add a candidate or two that could provide some competition for us if need be.
Would you consider Deshea Townsend there?
Absolutely. He played some there today.
Have you totally closed the door on Larry playing for the Steelers again?
I'm going to ride with the statement I made earlier that I am going to leave the intimate details of our discussions between us. I won't speculate on what may or may not happen in the not-too-distant future.