PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is going to get a contract extension this offseason, president Art Rooney II said on Monday.
Rooney said the time frame for that extension has yet to be determined, and it doesn’t sound like it will be soon, but make no mistake, Tomlin will be under contract.
“It’ll be done when it gets done,” Rooney said. “Those things, hard to speculate how long it’ll take. At this point, I don’t see it getting done before the coordinator is hired. I think that’s going to happen sooner rather than later.”
Of course, there was considerable speculation that after a 10-7 season, and the team failing to win a playoff game for the seventh consecutive season, that Tomlin may not be retained at all, let alone given an extension. Rumors swirled that Tomlin may step away from the team, and when he stormed out of his final post-game press conference in Buffalo, it looked like there was, for the first time, a real chance he would not return,
Rooney said he still believes in Tomlin’s ability to coach and to lead the Steelers to the Super Bowl.
“The players still respond to Mike and that’s No. 1,” Rooney said. “He still has the key characteristics that we saw when we hired him. He can keep the attention of a group of 20-year-olds for a whole season and keep them in the fight the whole way. Still feel good about Mike. Obviously, if I didn’t, we’d make change. If we didn’t think Mike was able to lead us to a championship, he wouldn’t be here. That’s why he’s here.”
Rooney cited the team’s ability to turn around a three-game losing streak into a four-game stretched that rescued their playoff hopes as a reason to believe that Tomlin still has what it takes as a head coach.
The 51-year-old is entering his 18th season as the Steelers head coach. He has a career record of 173-100-2 and is tied for 11th in NFL history for most coaching wins.