Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is among the “front-runners” for the vacant job at the University of Southern California, former Trojans quarterback Carson Palmer told The Dan Patrick Show on Monday.
USC is looking to replace Clay Helton, who was fired on Sept. 13, just two games into the 2021 season.
Palmer also named Penn State head coach James Franklin, Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell and Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell as other potential candidates.
Tomlin signed a three-year contract extension with the Steelers in April that has him committed to the franchise through the end of the 2024 season. It’s unclear if Tomlin has a buyout or what that figure might be.
The Steelers have had just three head coaches and haven’t fired any since 1969, with the organization placing an extreme value on stability at the position, so it’s likely Tomlin will be able to coach the team as long as he wishes to.
Tomlin has been with the Steelers since 2007 and was touted as a potential candidate for the Washington Football Team before that club selected Ron Rivera. He was never formally interviewed for the position.
Tomlin’s 148 career wins is 21st in NFL history and third among active coaches. He is the winningest African-American coach in NFL history and needs one more win to tie Bill Cowher for second in Steelers history.
He has never been a head coach at the collegiate level and has not coached in college at all since he was the defensive backs coach at Cincinnati from 1999-2000. A Virginia native and William & Mary grad, he has no obvious ties to USC or the Los Angeles area.