Questions remain for Tomlin in Arians firing

March, 27, 2012
3/27/12
4:19
PM ET
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin insisted Tuesday he made the call to replace offensive coordinator Bruce Arians with Todd Haley and wasn't told to do so by team president Art Rooney II.

"I don't know where some of these perceptions come from," Tomlin told reporters at the NFL owners meetings in Palm Beach, Fla.

Where did these perceptions come from? Maybe we should ask where to begin.

There are so many questions that remain unanswered by Tomlin, who spoke to reporters for the first time since Jan. 9. Why did he say that he anticipated Arians would return only to ask him to leave 11 days later? Why did Tomlin announce Arians was retiring? If Tomlin was the one who made the call to fire Arians, why was Rooney the one who actually made the phone call?

Tomlin, though, was asked if Rooney had any influence in Arians leaving.

"He didn't," Tomlin said. "I don't know where some of these perceptions come from. I don't break my neck to try to combat them in any way. I don't know where they come from."

Tomlin added, "And I hired Todd Haley as well, which is your next question, which is another funny one to me. And don't get me wrong, of course, Art Rooney owns the football team, he can do what he wants to do, but those directives did not happen."

Here's the timeline of what happened, and just like the old segment on "Monday Night Football" ... You Make the Call:
  • On Jan. 9, a day after the Steelers' playoff loss at Denver, Tomlin said he anticipated both of his coordinators would return, although he added, "we all understand what the end of the season is about and movement is a part of it in today's NFL for both players and coaches."
  • On Jan. 17, Rooney indicated that some members of the coaching staff were considering retirement.
  • On Jan. 20, Tomlin announced in a statement that "Bruce Arians has informed me that he will retire from coaching."
  • On Jan. 23, Arians told the York Daily Record that Rooney informed him that his contract wasn't being renewed.
  • On Jan. 28, eight days after his "retirement announcement" by the Steelers, Arians joined the Indianapolis Colts as their offensive coordinator.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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