Media still talking about who hired Haley; Tomlin responds
I find it somewhat funny that people are still talking about this now. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised since Tomlin has been so quiet since the offseason started and the media loves to stir up old drama...
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said today at the NFL owners meetings that team president Art Rooney II did not order him to fire former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
"I hired (new offensive coordinator) Todd Haley as well, which is your next question, which is a funny one to me," Tomlin said this morning at a media breakfast with AFC coaches. "Don't get me wrong. Art Rooney owns the football team. He can do what he wants but those directives did not happen."
Tomlin spoke publicly for the first about the Steelers' messy transition at offensive coordinator following a Jan. 8 playoff loss in Denver.
Tomlin said on Jan. 9 that he expected Arians to return for a sixth season as the Steelers' offensive coordinator, and Arians had planned to return in 2012. The Steelers later forced Arians into retirement, and they hired Haley, whose father helped build the teams that won four Super Bowls in the 1970s, on Feb. 7.
The change from Arians, who has since taken the job as the Indianapolis Colts' offensive coordinator, to Haley sparked speculation that Rooney had ordered or at least pressured Tomlin to make the move.
"I don't know where some of these perceptions come from," Tomlin said. "I don't break my neck to combat them in any way."
Tomlin said he decided that the Steelers needed to shake things up after they finished tied for 21st in the NFL in scoring (20.3 points) despite having a 4,000-yard passer in Ben Roethlisberger and a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown.
"I'm not going to apologize for change," Tomlin said. That's football and I think all of this in this industry understand that. Bruce served us well and was a really good football coach but I thought it was time for change. Change is never comfortable or easy but we all embrace that. We moved into a situation where we had an opportunity to grow and develop some young talent offensively."