By the sounds of it, even Tom Bradley is a little surprised to be coaching in the NFL. In his first interview since being hired in early February to be the Pittsburgh Steelers new DB coach, Bradley said he never imagined making the jump to the pro level. It took some convincing from Mike Tomlin to sell Bradley on the opportunity.
“I never thought I would,” Bradley told Missi Matthews when asked if he thought he’s ever coach in the league. ” It just happened so suddenly the way it worked out. I got the call from Kevin to interview and wasn’t going to do it. Then Mike called and said, ‘let’s sit down and talk’ and kind of went around a little bit. Didn’t take long, he said, ‘do you want the job?’ That’s not a hard decision.”
Bradley has been coaching football since 1979 spending nearly all of that time at Penn State followed by brief stints at West Virginia and UCLA. While some will see his lack of NFL experience a problem, and there’s a fair case to be made for that, Tomlin has looked at it as a positive, bringing in a new voice and someone in-tune with the college game.
There will still be a learning curve, however, and Bradley says he – like a rookie on the field – has to get used to the speed of the game.
“When you sit down and study it, the speed of the game. How good the quarterbacks are. They can put the ball anywhere. Some of the things you got away with in college, you kind of know it’s one of those ‘uh oh’ things, you get away with it. Here, the band’s going to be playing.”
CBA rules restrict Bradley’s ability to meet with his new group of players right now but he says Keith Butler has given them all cut-ups to begin their evaluations and set expectations for 2018. One that will include critical seasons for Artie Burns and Sean Davis, two players who need to make a serious jump in their third NFL season.