PITTSBURGH (AP) — Note to big-time college football programs looking for new coaches: Mike Tomlin isn’t interested.
The Pittsburgh Steelers coach said Tuesday he considers it a “joke” that his name has popped up as a potential candidate for places such as Southern California.
“I got one of the best jobs and in all the professional sports, why would I have any interest in coaching college football?” Tomlin said.
Former Heisman Trophy winner and USC star Carson Palmer told The Dan Patrick radio show that Tomlin was a “wild card” as the Trojans look for someone to replace Clay Helton, who was fired in September.
Former Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley, who worked in the Steelers front office alongside Tomlin for several years before moving on to the Bills, said on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh last week that Steeler fans should be worried about the letters “U-S-C” and “L-S-U.”
Tomlin is 148-81-1 in 15 seasons with the Steelers, one shy of the number his predecessor — Hall of Famer Bill Cowher — reached in the same number of seasons with the club. The Steelers signed Tomlin to a three-year contract extension in April that runs through 2024.
The 49-year-old, who played collegiately at William & Mary before going into coaching, has no connection to USC or LSU. He’s spent the overwhelming majority of his coaching career in the NFL. Tomlin last coached at the college level while serving as the defensive backs coach at the University of Cincinnati in 1999 and 2000. He joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a defensive backs coach in 2001 and has been in the NFL since then.
Tomlin, whose team is 3-3 heading into a visit to AFC North rival Cleveland (4-3) on Sunday, said this would be the last time he addresses his name in connection — however loosely — with college jobs.
“Never say never, but never,” he said. “ Anybody else got any questions about any college jobs? There is not a booster with a big enough blank check.”