The coach, whose team had just lost to Buffalo in an NFL playoff game, reportedly faces an uncertain future. And it was clear he didn’t want to discuss it.
“Mike, you have a year left on your contract...” a reporter can be heard saying.
Tomlin immediately turned and strode off without a word.
The Steelers’ 31-17 defeat was the team’s fifth straight playoff loss going back to 2016. But Tomlin’s 17-season reign overall has been stellar ― a Super Bowl title, two AFC titles and not one losing record in all of his campaigns.
ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith said Tomlin’s poor postseason streak of late “cannot be ignored,” and that it’s fair for fans to at least ask if it’s “time for him to go.”
Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward, who faces career questions of his own at age 34, left no doubt about whether he wants Tomlin to return.
“Every player wouldn’t be anything without Mike T,” Heyward said, per CNN. “This group would not function to even get to a playoff berth without Mike T. He keeps us accountable from top to bottom. I don’t want to play for any other coach.”
Tomlin, 51, will likely meet with Steelers owner Art Rooney II soon to discuss his status, ESPN reports.