Mike Tomlin wants rookies to look to excel amid COVID-19 difficulties

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Part of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin’s usual summer routine is to speak to the young players who attend the Hampton Roads All-Star Football Camp, but everyone is aware that this is not the usual summer.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced changes to nearly every facet of life and the football camp was not able to go on in person as scheduled this month. Tomlin took part in a virtual component by sitting down for an interview that covered growing up in the Hampton Roads area, his football career and shared a message for how he thinks the campers should be approaching a challenging time.

Tomlin said that his message was the same he’s delivered to Steelers rookies as they embark on their professional careers.

“Life is not going to be defined by what happens to him, things outside of their control. Their life is going to be defined by how they respond to those things, not only in the short term, but in the long term,” Tomlin said, via the team’s website. “We can’t fear short-term misery. We have to embrace short-term misery. It can’t be about short-term gratification. There are going to be some dark days ahead. As mentors, we that interact with people, we can’t ignore that exists. It’s the same thing I am talking to my rookies about right now. There are a lot of reasons for an NFL rookie in 2020 to fail. I am looking for guys who are looking to excel despite this. It might be setting themselves up for successful careers. It might not show up in terms of statistics in 2020.”

Tomlin said that he knows that people who are able to approach difficult times with that attitude wind up winning “in the long run” and the ability of players and coaches at all levels to adapt will be put to the test in the coming months.