Tying Up Loose Ends

By Scott Brown
Updated: January 17, 2010

PITTSBURGH – The Steelers have a longstanding policy of not talking about contract negotiations.

Team president Art Rooney II, however, made it pretty clear that one item on the Steelers’ offseason to-do list is signing coach Mike Tomlin to a new deal.

“I think Mike’s going to be our coach for a long period of time,” Rooney II told the Tribune-Review on Friday. “That’s certainly what we’re shooting for, and that’s his intention, so we’ll deal with it at the appropriate time.”

The Steelers traditionally sign their head coach to an extension when he has two years left on his deal. Tomlin has one year to go on the four-year deal he signed in January 2007, and the Steelers hold an option on his contract for the 2011 season.

Since succeeding Bill Cowher, Tomlin has become the youngest coach to win the Super Bowl. He also has led the Steelers to a pair of AFC North titles, though they slipped to 9-7 this season and missed the playoffs.

Tomlin coaxed a three-game winning streak out of the Steelers to finish the season. The job he did after a five-game losing streak torpedoed the Steelers’ hopes of defending their Super Bowl title and made an impression on Rooney II.

“It showed something about Mike that he’s not going to let a team give up on itself,” Rooney II said. “That’s the kind of coach we thought he was, and I think he obviously had a significant challenge to get us through this year. While there were disappointments about the season, that aspect of it was a good sign for the future.”