Leaving Penn State, Pat Freiermuth didn’t have to travel far for his new NFL team. And he didn’t need to go very far to find a great coach, either. Joining The Jim Rome Show Tuesday, Freiermuth was asked to describe his first year playing for head coach Mike Tomlin.
“Oh man, Coach Tomlin is everything you look for in a coach,” he told Rome. “I think he does a great job of putting out there what he expects from you as a player. But he does it in a way that shows that he cares for you. I think that when you have a leader and a coach tell you what he expects from you and he obviously praises you when you do it, but he does it in a way where he shows you’re supposed to be doing that. So I think he’s just a great coach and a great guy to play for.”
Tomlin wrapped up his 15th regular season with the Steelers, never having a losing season and making the playoffs for the tenth time. This year was unique, a Pittsburgh team counted out and thought to be on the verge of rebuilding. Turning around a 1-3 start, a tie to the Detroit Lions, and two painful losses to the Cincinnati Bengals, Tomlin’s Steelers finished the year 9-7-1 and grabbed the AFC’s final Wild Card spot in dramatic, chaotic fashion.
On and off the field, Freiermuth praised the way Tomlin ran the show.
“He really runs that organization as a class act. It’s everything I looked for coming in my first career rookie season in NFL. I love playing for him.”
Tomlin’s been given the label of “player’s coach,” a term he’s rejected for the “buddy-buddy” connotations it drums up. But Tomlin’s loved by players for his honesty and transparency, as Freiermuth said, letting players know exactly where they stand.
Freiermuth also praised Tomlin’s leadership and steadiness over the last two weeks, a pair of must-win games against divisional opponents.
“Coach Tom never [turns] away from facing adversity. That’s his big thing, smile on the face of adversity. That’s what we continued to do this season. So it always felt normal and routine and just happy we came out with a ‘W.'”
Freiermuth played a key role in Sunday’s win, coming up with several big plays to put Pittsburgh in position to secure victory. That steadiness rewarded the Steelers with another playoff berth and for Freiermuth, his first taste of postseason action.
Check out the whole interview below.