You often hear stories about young coaches sleeping in the facilities of their respective teams, grinding away the days and hours trying to make it in the NFL.
Family lives get put on hold. Relationships too, sometimes. Being an NFL coach, especially a position coach or even a low-level assistant on a staff can be a thankless job that takes a toll.
What you don’t often hear about is longtime NFL head coaches putting in those same hours. But, according to veteran quarterback Mason Rudolph, that’s what Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin often does after long road trips that cause the Steelers to return to town late.
Appearing on the Steel Here podcast with Barstool’s Jersey Jerry and Kevin Adams, Rudolph said Tomlin is a “real grinder” who often sleeps at the facility in his office after long road trips, allowing him to get his day started on preparations for the week.
“I don’t think he sleeps. I don’t know when he sleeps, but especially during the season. He will sleep at the office a lot of times, especially if we’re getting back from the road late on Sunday,” Rudolph said on the Steel Here podcast, according to video via Jersey Jerry’s YouTube page. “I think he’s got like a pullout couch or a futon, but he’s a grinder.”
Entering his 17th season as the head coach of the Steelers, it is rather surprising to hear that Tomlin will sleep in his office. But it’s great to hear because he still exemplifies the qualities that made him attractive to the Steelers all those years ago: committed to the game, determined, willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, and leading by example.
Tomlin is never satisfied and never believes he’s truly made it despite his history with the Steelers and his overall reputation in the league. While sleeping in the office and working late nights, really grinding at his craft of coaching might take a toll on his family life, Tomlin is doing everything he can to set the tone and really lead the franchise by example.
To date, it’s worked out rather well. That grinder mentality carries over to the team, and certainly had an impact in 2022 when the Steelers had to scratch and claw their way back from a 2-6 start to finish 9-8. With an easier schedule and an improved team underneath him in 2023, hopefully there aren’t as many long nights for Tomlin. But in the weeks the Steelers make long trips to the West Coast and return late, hopefully there’s a better reward at the end of the road for Tomlin than a 9-8 record.