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Mike Tomlin tells Steelers players he plans to remain their coach

Mike Tomlin stands on the sideline during the Steelers' playoff loss Monday to the Bills at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
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Mike Tomlin told Pittsburgh Steelers players and members of his coaching staff Tuesday that he plans to remain the team’s coach next season, a person familiar with the situation confirmed.

Tomlin’s comments came on the day after the Steelers’ season ended with Monday’s 31-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y., in the opening round of the AFC playoffs.

Tomlin is under contract to the Steelers through next season. The team never has had a losing season in 17 years with him as its coach. And the Steelers are well known for continuity with their head coaches.

But it has been an offseason of upheaval involving some of the NFL’s most accomplished coaches. Bill Belichick, Mike Vrabel and Pete Carroll are among the high-profile coaches out of work. There has been speculation that another team could offer the Steelers draft-pick compensation in an attempt to hire Tomlin, in what would amount to a trade.

Tomlin exited his postgame news conference Monday when he was asked about his contract without answering the question.

Though the variables of Tomlin’s contract and the prospect of trade interest remain, Tomlin took a step toward putting the conjecture about his immediate coaching future to rest by telling the Steelers of his intention to stay in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers reportedly are interested in negotiating a contract extension with him. They have had only three head coaches since the late 1960s: Chuck Noll (1969 to 1991), Bill Cowher (1992 to 2006) and Tomlin (since 2007).

Tomlin, 51, is one of the league’s most respected coaches. He has coached the Steelers to a 173-100-2 mark in the regular season and an 8-10 record in the postseason. They reached the playoffs 11 times and have made two Super Bowl appearances in his 17 seasons, winning the Super Bowl title in the 2008 season.

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Tomlin would be an in-demand coaching candidate if he did choose to part ways with the Steelers. The principal owners of two teams searching for new coaches, the Washington Commanders’ Josh Harris and the Carolina Panthers’ David Tepper, are former part-owners of the Steelers.

Harris and business partner David Blitzer, an investor in the Commanders, had not sold their shares in the Steelers as of last month’s NFL owners meeting. They must sell those shares, under NFL rules, but need not do so immediately.

The Steelers went 10-7 and secured the AFC’s final postseason spot on the last weekend of the season. Tomlin made former third-string quarterback Mason Rudolph the starter late in the season, helping the Steelers get into the postseason field.

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If Tomlin stays put in Pittsburgh, he will avoid becoming part of the dizzying turnover among some of the league’s highest-profile coaches.

Belichick parted ways with the New England Patriots last week after 24 seasons and six Super Bowl triumphs. Carroll, another Super Bowl-winning coach, parted with the Seattle Seahawks, saying he had agreed to the team’s wishes after lobbying to remain in place. The Tennessee Titans fired Vrabel, the 2021 NFL coach of the year.