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Tomlin expects to sign Steelers extension despite playoff exit

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is confident he will still be in charge of the team next season, suggesting he expects to sign a contract extension before the 2024 campaign begins.

Tomlin has been in charge of the Steelers for 17 seasons, never finishing a campaign with a losing record and overseeing the team’s triumph at Super Bowl XLIII in 2009.

After the New England Patriots’ decision to part company with Bill Belichick last week, Tomlin is now the longest-serving current head coach in the NFL.

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The Steelers fell at the first hurdle in the postseason on Sunday, failing to recover from a slow start as they suffered a 31-17 defeat to the Buffalo Bills in the wild-card round.

In the aftermath of that loss, Tomlin walked out of his post-game press conference when asked whether he would extend his contract, which runs through to the end of the 2024 season.

Speculation had suggested Tomlin might step down after the Steelers’ third wild-card loss in the space of four years, but he expressed no doubts over his future on Thursday.

“I expect to be back, and I would imagine that those contract things are going to run their course,” Tomlin said at his end-of-season news conference.

“Art [Rooney II] and I have a really good, transparent relationship. We communicate continually.

“I don’t imagine it’s going to be an issue, and I imagine it’s going to get done in a timely manner at the appropriate time, but my mindset is to coach this football team.

“I understand speculation is a component of what it is that we do. I try not to get caught up in it or distracted by it, particularly when it is not where I’m at. That’s been my mindset regarding it.”

The Steelers are on the lookout for a new offensive coordinator for 2024 after firing Matt Canada in November, with their average of 17.9 points per game ranking 28th in the NFL for 2023.

Tomlin is clear on his expectations for next year and is excited by the opportunity to reset, saying: “I’m not lacking confidence in my ability to do the job, while at the same time there’s frustration because I want that confetti for this group.

“Whatever we’ve got to do to do it, whatever changes need to be made… I’m open to it.

“I want us to be versatile and dynamic. Obviously, we’ve got to score more points. I want to be able to keep defenses off-balance.

“I want to utilise all the talent that we have at our disposal. I’m excited about this process and the talent pool out there.”

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