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Tomlin delivers the perfect pep talk


By Teresa Varley

Terrible Towels were swirling as Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin headed to the podium as the commencement speaker at St. Vincent College.

Tomlin spoke to the graduates at the school where the Steelers hold their training camp each year and his words were similar to those he has shared with his players.

"I'd like to reassure you that the first five minutes of the game does not determine the outcome," said Tomlin. "We might burst out of these doors and have great success right away, but we can't wear ourselves out patting ourselves on the back. Or we might burst out of those doors and trip over a cord or something and fall flat on our face. The first five minutes never determine the outcome of the game."

As he went on, Tomlin continued with the football themed message, managing to relate it to what the graduates are now facing.

"I'd like to encourage this group to attack and to play to win," he said. "But it's also about how you play the game of life. You play with great integrity and honor and class. You must give back to your community and make this a better place to live for all of us.

"Lastly -- and I mandate this -- you must continue to dream the wild dreams that you dreamed when you were young. Dream and dream big. But you have to make a daily commitment to take action to make your dreams a reality."

Tomlin is hoping his 15 minute speech is something that the graduates will remember, even though he has learned that many college graduates don't.

"I ended up interviewing 89 prospective Steelers and asked each of them what their commencement speaker said to them," said Tomlin of the interviews conducted before the draft. "They had no idea.

"That got me to thinking back to 13 years ago this weekend when I sat in your chair, I too, couldn't remember a word of what our speaker said."

Tomlin was also the commencement speaker at William & Mary College. He graduated from there in 1996 with a degree in sociology.

Commencement Photos - Courtesy of St. Vincent College

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