Kenny Pickett (8) of the Pittsburgh Steelers talks to the Steelers medical staff after being sacked during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, PA on October 16, 2022.

Pittsburgh Steelers Vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Week 6

Steelers coach on Kenny Pickett: ‘If he’s cleared, he’ll play’

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett will be under center if he’s available to play this weekend.

First things first, however. Pickett remains in concussion protocol after he exited the third quarter of Sunday’s 20-18 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was hit in the chest by Buccaneers linebacker Devin White, with the tackle causing Pickett’s head to bounce off the ground.

Tomlin, however, told reporters that he expects the 24-year-old to be able to practice in preparation for Pittsburgh’s road game against the Miami Dolphins this Sunday (8:20 p.m. ET).

“It is my understanding that his work won’t be limited in any way in preparation. We’ll adhere to the protocol and follow that and let that be our guide in terms of participation,” Tomlin said. “I’ll say this: If he’s cleared to play, he’ll play, he’ll play quarterback for us.

“In the meantime, we’ll ready ourselves. He’ll be a full participant (Wednesday) and we’ll have him and Mitch (Trubisky) working at the quarterback position.”

Pickett completed 11 of 18 passes for 67 yards against Tampa Bay. He tossed his first career touchdown pass in the first quarter, a 6-yard scoring strike to Najee Harris.

Pickett was selected by the Steelers with the 20th overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Trubisky, 28, completed 9 of 12 passes for 144 yards in relief of Pickett this past Sunday. He tossed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Chase Claypool early in the fourth quarter.

–Field Level Media

Aug 13, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky (10) and Kenny Pickett (8) celebrate after defeating the Seattle Seahawks at Acrisure Stadium. The Steelers won 32-25. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Tomlin non-committal about Steelers QB for Week 5

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin wouldn’t name a starting quarterback for Week 5 in Buffalo after benching starter Mitch Trubisky for rookie Kenny Pickett during Sunday’s 24-20 home loss to the Jets.

With the Steelers trailing 10-6 at halftime, Tomlin turned to Pickett after Trubisky went 7-for-13 passing for 84 yards and an interception. The No. 20 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft then went 10-for-13 passing for 120 yards and three interceptions, but he ran for a pair of 1-yard touchdowns and was warmly received by Steelers fans.

“We just thought we needed a spark,” Tomlin said about inserting the former Pitt quarterback into the game. “We didn’t do much in the first half, not enough offensively and thought he could provide a spark for us.

“I’m not going to talk extended as we sit here. We did what we needed to do to put ourselves in position to win this game. We’ll do it again. But I like to just keep it where we are in terms of what transpired here today. We’ll deal with next week, next week.”

With Trubisky serving as a bridge, it seemed only a matter of time before Pickett’s time would arrive, especially given the Steelers’ early season offensive struggles.

“Obviously, it’s a rebuilding year,” Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson told reporters Sunday. “We can’t use that as an excuse. It doesn’t matter who is at quarterback or any position. It’s our job to get it done and win games. That’s what we have to do — win.”

–Field Level Media

Aug 28, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) leads the team out onto the field to warm up against the Detroit Lions at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mitch Trubisky not yet Steelers QB1 but named a captain

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has yet to name a starting quarterback for the 2022 season, but Mitch Trubisky apparently has the players’ vote of confidence.

Trubisky, 28, was named one of five team captains by a vote of the players, the team announced Monday.

He joins running back Najee Harris as the captains on offense, tackle Cameron Heyward and T.J. Watt on defense, and safety Miles Killebrew on special teams.

Trubisky is in his first season in Pittsburgh, signing as a free agent in the offseason. He, Harris and Killebrew are first-time captains, while Watt was voted captain for the second time. Heyward, in his 12th season, is a captain for the eighth straight year.

Tomlin has never had a quarterback competition. When he took over from Bill Cowher as Steelers coach in 2007, he inherited Ben Roethlisberger, who retired following the 2021 season.

And Tomlin’s choice has come down to Trubisky, the No. 2 overall draft pick of the Chicago Bears in 2017, and Kenny Pickett, selected No. 20 overall by the Steelers in April’s draft.

In the preseason, Trubisky completed 24 of 34 pass attempts for 283 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Pickett, 24, was 29-of-36 passing for 261 yards, with three TDs and no picks.

Veteran backup Mason Rudolph took the rest of the snaps.

For what it’s worth, Roethlisberger has made his choice. On his new podcast, “Footbahlin with Ben Roethlisberger,” he gave Trubisky his endorsement.

“I think Mitch is a great leader, a great football player, he’s a great athlete, he’s a good quarterback,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s the guy, they brought him in here for a reason, and I think he’s going to mentor Kenny. And I think he’ll really help Kenny a lot. But in my opinion, it should be Mitch’s job for the time being. And if Mitch plays well, keep him in there. And even if Mitch has a bad game or something, that doesn’t mean just yank him.”

The Steelers open the season Sunday at Cincinnati against the defending AFC champion Bengals.

–Field Level Media

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Harris is a first-time captain in just his second season and Trubisky is a Steelers captain for the first time after signing with the team as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Heyward, who is in his 12th season, is a defensive captain for the eighth consecutive year. Watt is a defensive captain for the second time in his career. Watt was also captain in 2020.

This is the first time Killebrew, who is in his second season with the team, was voted special teams captain.

Dec 5, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) signals they will go for two points against the Baltimore Ravens during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. They converted and won the game 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Roethlisberger to address playing status after season

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger plans to discuss his playing status after this season.

Roethlisberger addressed the situation — well, somewhat — after Pittsburgh’s 20-19 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. The topic was on the table after an ESPN report circulated that the 39-year-old had told some former teammates and those within the organization that he expects the 2021 season to be his last.

“I haven’t told everybody that, no,” Roethlisberger said. “Honestly, we just got done with this game, I’m exhausted. We play in a couple hours, it feels like. That’s my focus. My focus is on Minnesota and what we have to do to get ready.

“I’ll address any of that stuff after the season. I’ve always been a one-game-at-a-time, one-season-at-a-time person. I’m going to stay that way.”

Coach Mike Tomlin scoffed at the notion that Roethlisberger’s situation is a distraction for the Steelers (6-5-1).

“Ben doesn’t allow it to become an issue,” Tomlin said. “Ben has been pretty solid in terms of his expressions that he’s singularly focused on what we’re doing now. He’ll deal with those things on the other side of his journey, and I’m with him on it. So it’s not a distraction. I thought it was funny that it was seemingly a story this weekend, to be honest with you.”

Roethlisberger has played his entire 18-year career in Pittsburgh, and he owns most of the franchise’s passing records, including completions (5,319), yards (63,106) and touchdowns (412).

The six-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion has had one of his least productive seasons as a pro in 2021, throwing for 2,758 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Aug 21, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90) warms up before the game against the Detroit Lions at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers’ Mike Tomlin expects T.J. Watt to play in Week 1

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said it’s his expectation that two-time All-Pro and current holdout T.J. Watt will practice Wednesday and play in the team’s Week 1 opener against the Buffalo Bills.

Tomlin made the comments Tuesday, adding that he’s “optimistic” a deal will get done between the club and its four-year superstar.

“I remain optimistic that something’s going to get done from a deal perspective. That aside, I’m expecting him to work tomorrow. I’m proceeding with the assumption that he’s going to work tomorrow,” Tomlin said. “That’s the approach I’m taking. …

“I’m proceeding with the assumption that he’s working tomorrow and that he gets to add his talents to that (OLB) collection, and the development of that collection, and hopefully it culminates in quality play not only this weekend from that group, but obviously over the course of the 2021 season.”

The Steelers are expected to make Watt the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL, however the sides are hung up on the among of guaranteed money, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The Steelers, as a matter of policy, do not guarantee contracts beyond the signing bonus and first-year salary, per the report.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Watt has been with the team at camp but has not participated in any practices or preseason games.

Watt, who turns 27 in October, is currently slated to play 2021 on the fifth-year option ($10.09 million) of his rookie contract, which he received for being a first-round pick (No. 30 overall) of the Steelers in 2017.

Watt, the younger brother of Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt, has started all 62 games in which he has played. He led the NFL in 2020 with 15 sacks and also recorded seven passes defended, two forced fumbles, an interception and 53 tackles.

–Field Level Media

Aug 5, 2021; Canton, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90) warms up before a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Tomlin: T.J. Watt contract standoff ‘not unique’

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt is continuing to sit out team drills, including anything involving hitting, while he and the Steelers attempt to negotiate a long-term contract.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was asked Tuesday if the team finds itself in a unique jam with Watt — who did report to training camp, is attending meetings and is not isolating himself from his teammates.

“Not unique at all really,” Tomlin said. “You know, that negotiation process is going to run its course. Some run their courses faster than others. If I remember correctly, (Pittsburgh defensive tackle) Cam Heyward had less than 100 percent participation when he was in a similar circumstance a short time ago.”

The Watt-Steelers standoff gained some steam when reporters learned from defensive coordinator Keith Butler on Saturday why Watt had not been a full participant.

“That’s none of my business,” Butler said at the time. “I hope he signs a contract, and let’s get it done. When he gets that done, we’ll talk about that.”

In four seasons with the Steelers, Watt, the younger brother of Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt, has started all 62 games in which he has played. He led the NFL in 2020 with 15 sacks and also recorded seven passes defended, two forced fumbles, an interception and 53 tackles.

It was his third straight season of at least 13 sacks. The three-time Pro Bowl selection narrowly lost the Defensive Player of the Year Award to Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who gained 27 votes to Watt’s 20.

Watt, who turns 27 in October, is currently slated to play 2021 on the fifth-year option ($10.09 million) of his rookie contract, which he received for being a first-round pick (No. 30 overall) of the Steelers in 2017.

Earlier this month, team president Art Rooney II said the team hoped to have Watt sign an extension before Week 1. Saying he was “not into the hypotheticals,” Tomlin would not entertain the thought of what might happen if Watt didn’t have a new deal by the regular season.

“I like to focus my energies on the guys who are working, and I’m less concerned about the guys who aren’t, whether it’s contractually-related or injury-related,” Tomlin said. “At this time of the year, I’m all eyes on the guys who are working, and one man’s misfortune or inconvenience is an opportunity for another.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 13, 2020; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin looks on against the Buffalo Bills during the third quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers extend coach Mike Tomlin through 2024

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed coach Mike Tomlin to a three-year contract extension, which runs through the 2024 season.

Tomlin, 49, has coached the Steelers since 2007 and has never had a losing season.

“I am pleased to announce we have extended Mike Tomlin’s contract through the 2024 season,” said team president Art Rooney II in a statement announcing the deal on Tuesday.

“Mike is one of the most successful head coaches in the National Football League, and we are confident in his leadership to continue to lead our team as we work to win another championship.”

Tomlin led the Steelers to a Super Bowl title in his second season, making him the youngest head coach (36) to win a Super Bowl. The Steelers went back to the Super Bowl after the 2010 season, but lost.

“I am extremely grateful for this contract extension and want to thank Art Rooney II and everyone in the organization for the support in my first 14 seasons,” said Tomlin. “We have a goal of winning the organization’s seventh Super Bowl championship, and I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about this upcoming season.”

Tomlin has posted a 145-78-1 regular-season record in his 14 years in Pittsburgh, going 8-8 in the playoffs.

His .640 overall winning percentage is tops in Steelers history.

Only Bill Belichick, who joined the New England Patriots in 2000, and Sean Payton, who has coached the New Orleans Saints since 2006, have a longer tenure with their current team.

–Field Level Media

Dec 13, 2020; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin looks on against the Buffalo Bills during the third quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has COVID-19

Dec 13, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (11) against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is away from team facilities after having been diagnosed with COVID-19, NFL Network reported Monday.

The Steelers would not confirm that but did say that coaches — including Tomlin — and other personnel were sent home last week after a couple of positive cases cropped up, per the report.

To that end, there’s no word on Tomlin’s condition or his symptoms.

–Field Level Media

Nov 1, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin looks onto the field during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Steelers, Tomlin fined $350K over masks

The NFL fined the Pittsburgh Steelers and coach Mike Tomlin a total of $350,000 for mask violations during Sunday’s win against the Baltimore Ravens, ESPN reported Friday.

The team was fined $250,000 and Tomlin was fined $100,000 for failing to properly follow the league’s COVID-19 protocols, per the report.

Tomlin was wearing a neck gaiter in Baltimore but was seen several times with it pulled down below his face during the unbeaten Steelers’ 28-24 victory.

The league issued the same penalties to five teams and coaches earlier this season.

–Field Level Media