View Full Version : Tomlin sparked quarterback firestorm

09-12-2010, 01:06 AM
Tomlin sparked quarterback firestorm
Sunday, September 12, 2010
In-depth Steelers
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 99127.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_699127.html)

Maybe it's because Mike Tomlin was appearing on a national radio show instead of speaking to local reporters during his weekly news conference.

Maybe it's a coincidence that Tomlin gave two versions of the same story Tuesday.

Whatever it was, Tomlin inadvertently or not created a firestorm of controversy regarding his already scrambled quarterback situation.

When asked whether Ben Roethlisberger would regain his starting job when he returns from his four-game suspension Oct. 17, Tomlin not only refused to give a politically correct and safe response, he basically poured gasoline on what finally had become a flickering flame.

"I'm going to dodge that one and not artfully," Tomlin said. "I'm not going to back myself in a corner."

So, what does that mean? Is Roethlisberger the franchise quarterback or not? Why wouldn't Roethlisberger regain his starting job, even if Dennis Dixon guides the team to a 4-0 or 3-1 record in his absence? Is there a possibility that Dixon would remain the starter even when Roethlisberger becomes eligible to play?

Highly unlikely. It's extremely difficult to imagine that. In the NFL, you don't mess with money and success. Roethlisberger's $102 million contract grants him elite status, as does the fact that he and New England's Tom Brady are the only active quarterbacks to have won multiple Super Bowls.

Some players, such as outspoken veteran Hines Ward perhaps Dixon's biggest public supporter could push for Dixon to continue to start if the offense is rolling. More than likely, however, Tomlin is trying to grab the attention of both quarterbacks Roethlisberger and Dixon to make sure Roethlisbeger doesn't take his status as a franchise quarterback for granted.

And maybe Tomlin was trying to let Dixon know that, even though he will be making only his second NFL start today against Atlanta at Heinz Field, his coach is behind him 100 percent.