Mike Tomlin appreciates, respects Rocky Bleier’s criticism of him, Steelers
Mike Tomlin said he was not aware of Pittsburgh Steelers legend Rocky Bleier’s social media post that was critical of Tomlin and the organization . But when the Steelers coach was asked about it during his weekly news conference, Tomlin declined to fire back.
“Those guys are entitled to an opinion; they care and care deeply,” Tomlin said, grouping Bleier in with other high-profile Steelers alumni. “We appreciate them and respect the fact that they care and care deeply.”
Bleier posted a video on his social media accounts titled “I’m Done!” with a broken-heart emoji. The Steelers have lost three consecutive games, their grip on a playoff berth is slipping away.
“They need to find a way to win these games – not lose them,” Bleier wrote.
“How they fare (over the final three games of the regular season) will dictate the team’s future, and it may be without Tomlin,” Bleier said.
Bleier later Tuesday clarified his statements in another Facebook post. Bleier said, in part, “I’m not backing down on what I said because it’s the truth. I want to clarify that I am not ‘done’ with the Steelers. I am just truly disappointed.”
Bleier, 72, won four Super Bowl rings as a running back for the Steelers from 1968-80. Though he never was named to the Pro Bowl, that he took a season off early in his career to serve in the Vietnam War has made him one of the most beloved of the Super Steelers.
Bleier lost part of his right foot and suffered other wounds to his legs during combat in 1969. He’s remained visible in Pittsburgh in the decades since he’s retired.
The Steelers, who host the New England Patriots on Sunday, must win one of their final three games to avoid their first losing season since 2003.
“Trust that we’re equally or more disappointed than Rocky,” Tomlin said, “but we get an opportunity to do something about it, so that’s where we’ll focus our energies – ‘we’ meaning those of us that play, those of us (that) coach – and are in this thing day-to-day right now.
“We have a big week ahead of us in terms of the work that we do, forget how we feel.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at email@example.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.