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Mike Tomlin Made a Big Impression on a Cowboys Defensive Back

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Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Tomlin

Like any head coach, Mike Tomlin has flaws. But there’s one thing he can’t be knocked for, and that’s his natural ability to relate to players. There’s a mutual respect. That’s why players cherish playing for him.

Tomlin was voted on by anonymous players across the league as the coach they’d want to play for the most in a poll collected by The Athletic in November of 2023. The Athletic spoke with 72 players across the league for the tally.

Dallas Cowboys safety Malik Hooker, who’s from Pittsburgh, recently said on the All Gas No Brakes With Keyshawn Johnson that it was a blessing to have a pre-draft visit with the Steelers and Mike Tomlin in 2017.

“I’m from Pittsburgh, so Mike T had brought me in and talked to me. But he pretty much already told me he probably wasn’t going to get me, he was just bringing me in to chop it up about life,” Hooker said. “Just being able to go there and you know sit in front of him and knowing the historics and the stuff the Steelers have done as an organization. Being able to even be thought of in that way, like you’re able to come in here and play, I just looked at it as a blessing.”

Mike Tomlin

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during an OTAs practice on May 21, 2024. — Steelers Now/ Ed Thompson

Hooker was selected at 15th overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Steelers were in need of a safety at the time, but Hooker was out of their range. The Steelers picked at 30, T.J. Watt was the Steelers’ first-round selection that year, so I’d say things turned out pretty well for the Black and Gold.

Hooker’s four-year tenure in Indianapolis was hindered by a series of injuries. He’s fared pretty well with Dallas over the last three seasons, though.

On the same podcast with Keyshawn Johnson, Hooker called out teammate Micah Parsons for being too focused on his podcast.

“My advice for Micah would be just make sure we’re alright and being where you’re feet are,” Hooker said. “Because if we’re at work and, you know, the run game’s terrible but you’re doing a podcast every week and you know the run game is terrible then what are you really caring about? Are you caring about the crowd that was watching the podcast or are you caring about the success of our team and the Super Bowl that we’re trying to reach?”

Parsons fired back with a response, but the post has since-been deleted on X.

“Just wish you said this to me but instead on some podcast! And you got my number family! @MalikHooker24 and you my locker mate!” his post read, per The Dallas Morning News. “So you coulda said this any day! And you do realize I shoot the podcast on our off day! I why ain’t we talking about everyone preparations and focus.”