In Tuesday’s “First Call,” Mike Tomlin answers questions about his long-term future with the Pittsburgh Steelers. An ex-Steeler was spotted helping out a potential draft choice at his pro day. A wild game atop the Metropolitan Division. And Chris Archer has a new home.
No focus on future
For 50 years old, Mike Tomlin certainly comes off as youthful. His passion for coaching the game doesn’t appear to have dipped despite five consecutive seasons without a postseason win.
During interview sessions at NFL meetings in Florida, Tomlin was asked about how much longer he wants to coach.
“I have no idea,” Tomlin replied. “I’m excited about 2022. My wife probably has a better understanding of that than I do.”
Tomlin was asked if he’d ever want a dual role of both coach and general manager.
“Absolutely not,” Tomlin answered. “I love football coaching. I’m a singularly focused type of a guy.”
For all of Tomlin’s first 15 seasons, he has yet to go through a quarterback change. That’s because he inherited future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger when Bill Cowher retired (at age 49) in 2007.
“I’m excited about it,” Tomlin said. “I’m energized by it. I love the anxiety associated with professional uncertainty. I think it brings the best out in me, and I think it is going to bring out the best in us.”
Anxiety? Yes. I think that’s a fair word for what Pittsburgh is feeling about the franchise’s quarterback situation, don’t you?
Have we met before?
A face familiar to Steelers scouts was helping on the field at Sam Howell’s pro day.
Fellow North Carolina product and former Steelers receiver Ryan Switzer was catching some of Howell’s passes.
Ryan Switzer also at UNC’s pro day catching passes from Sam Howell https://t.co/ZBZCN3N2gQ
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) March 28, 2022
Even though the two were never teammates in Chapel Hill, Howell and Switzer have been working together for weeks. Howell is the UNC all-time leader in passing yards (10,283) and passing touchdowns (92). Switzer holds the school record for career receptions (244) and receiving yards (2,907).
Along with helping Howell have a former NFL player as a target, maybe this will help Switzer get on the radar of NFL front offices. That’s if he wants to get back onto a team. Switzer was waived by the Steelers in September 2020. He was last on a roster with the Cleveland Browns when he was placed on injured reserve back in August 2021.
The Steelers were represented at the workout. General manager Kevin Colbert was on hand. So was offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Mike Tomlin wasn’t there because he had to be at those league meetings. But he previously expressed a desire to be in North Carolina instead.
Dusted in DC
If Penguins fans were looking for a little help from their friends in Washington DC, they didn’t get it.
And, no, I’m not talking about Congress. I’m talking about a group that Pittsburghers tends to like even less.
The Washington Capitals.
The Caps were hosting the Metropolitan Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night. The Canes entered that game with 93 points, three better than the second-place Pens.
And they were limping, having lost five of their past seven games. Meanwhile, the Capitals were hot, winners in six of eight.
That didn’t seem to matter. Carolina broke to a 6-1 win. Martin Necas led the way with two goals.
Marty Necas pic.twitter.com/T60KvsR4Xr
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) March 28, 2022
That Martin Necas: so hot right now pic.twitter.com/J9Vn9vAjvD
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) March 29, 2022
Sebastian Aho had a beautiful shorthanded goal, too.
This is NSFW pic.twitter.com/CNzo7LTkyE
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) March 29, 2022
The bad news for Carolina is that they lost center Jesperi Kotkaniemi to an injury with 1.8 seconds left following a hit from Lars Eller.
The game also featured a fight between Tom Wilson and Brendan Smith. Wilson definitely got the better of Smith just a month removed from Smith having a fractured skull. That fight occurred not long after a big hit from Wilson on Pittsburgh product Vince Trocheck.
New place, familiar face
Chris Archer has a new home.
The ex-Pirates pitcher is now a Minnesota Twin. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Archer inked a $3.5 million free agent contract. He can also earn up to $6 million in bonus incentives. Those would reportedly be earned based on games started or any outing where he records at least nine outs.
The contract also comes with a $10 million mutual option to return in 2023.
Archer is now 33 years old. It’s been three and a half years since it was acquired by the Pirates from the Tampa Bay Rays at the 2018 trade deadline. He washed out in Pittsburgh, going 6-12 with a 4.92 ERA.
In June 2020, Archer was put on the shelf to treat neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome. He didn’t pitch again until April 2021 when he returned to the Rays for a second stint.
When the Pirates acquired Archer, they did so for Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Shane Baz. It’s largely considered one of the worst Major League Baseball trades in recent memory.
Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.