Prior to the Pittsburgh Steelers hiring Todd Haley to be their offensive coordinator in 2012, it was reported that head coach Mike Tomlin met with Jim Caldwell about the opening. Caldwell, who is now the head coach of the Detroit Lions, certainly wasn’t a stranger to Tomlin at the time as the two were together on the coaching staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2001. Ahead of Wednesday’s final joint training camp practice against the Lions, Tomlin shared some the recollections he had of Caldwell from the time they were together in Tampa Bay
“Steady Eddie,” Tomlin said. “Jim Caldwell is Steady Eddie. I tend to be more up and down emotionally and I appreciated that about him. I was a very young guy when we worked together and have obviously know of Coach Caldwell. He had been a longtime college head football coach at Wake Forest at that time, so I really enjoyed learning a lot from him.
“I know that he and his family were helpful to my wife and I. We were very new parents at the time and his wife did a great job of schooling my wife on parenting and we appreciated it.”
Tomlin was also asked how his relationship has grown with Caldwell over the years.
“In a very natural way,” said Tomlin. “We’ve been friends now for 15 years and I appreciate him. It’s always been a relationship that’s valued by me.”
After Friday night’s preseason game against the Lions, it’s yet to be seen whether or not Tomlin will meet up again with Caldwell next year during training camp and the preseason as nothing appears to be set in stone right now, according to various reports. Regardless, Tomlin seems to be happy with the arraignments that were made this year with his longtime friend that allowed his team to practice against another at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe.
“It’s good to get unfamiliar faces and unfamiliar schemes to test us from a key standpoint and a fundamental standpoint,” Tomlin said. “His perceptions of it were the same. I thought both teams handled the opportunity great. They represented themselves and football well in terms of the professionalism, while at same time being very competitive. I just really appreciate them being here. The benefit of it is unbelievable.”