Mike Tomlin says he ‘could have handled’ contract question ‘better than I did’

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After Monday’s playoff loss, Mike Tomlin raised eyebrows when he abruptly ended his postgame press conference after someone asked about his soon-to-be-expiring contract.

There was speculation that with a rather subpar season, albeit making the playoffs, Tomlin could leave the Pittsburgh Steelers, as his contract is set to end after next season.

Following their tough loss to the Buffalo Bills, Tomlin was about to be asked a question regarding his contract, but he took a hard left turn and ended the press conference without the question being answered.

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Mike Tomlin coaches

Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers walks off the field at halftime during the Raiders game at Allegiant Stadium on Sept. 24, 2023, in Las Vegas. (Chris Unger/Getty Images)

Since then, Tomlin has told his players he will be returning for the 2024 season, although he is still working on an extension.

The awkward moment for Tomlin caused headlines and criticism, and he stepped up to the microphone on Thursday, admittedly in a better mood than earlier this week, to admit he was in the wrong.

“In a little better mood today. Anybody got any contract questions?” Tomlin joked.

“I’ll say this, I certainly could have handled that situation better than I did,” he said, via Awful Announcing.

But he still managed to defend his stance, saying there was a “time and place” for such a question to be asked.

Mike Tomlin vs Ravens

Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers before the Ravens game at M&T Bank Stadium on Jan. 6, 2024, in Baltimore. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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“Postgame press conferences are probably not the place to address contract issues and things of that nature. It’s just a very individual thing,” Tomlin continued. “And on game day, I doubt any of us are in that mindset. Certainly, I am not. I just don’t believe that is the appropriate venue to talk about things of that nature. Certainly open and willing to do it today in this venue.”

Tomlin said an extension will “get done when it gets done,” and it is “not a top priority.”

Tomlin’s teams have never finished a season with a record below the .500 mark during the coach’s 17 seasons at the helm, although they have not won a postseason game since 2016.

Mike Tomlin of the Steelers against the Browns

Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers argues a call during the Browns game at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sept. 22, 2022, in Cleveland. (Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

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In just his second season as an NFL head coach, Tomlin helped lead the Steelers to victory in Super Bowl XLIII.

The Steelers have only had three head coaches during the modern era. Tomlin’s tenure began after Hall of Fame coaches Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher.

Fox News’ Chantz Martin contributed to this report.

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