PITTSBURGH (AP) -Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin doesn't expect the team's unsettled ownership situation to become a negative - unless players let it become one.
``Will it become a distraction? Potentially,'' Tomlin said Wednesday. ``But ... those questions will be answered by the Rooneys.''
That would be the pioneering NFL family now headed by Steelers chairman Dan Rooney and his son, team president Art Rooney II. Dan Rooney is trying to buy a larger interest than his current 16 percent from one or all of his four brothers, who each own the same percentage but want more money than Dan Rooney is offering. Cousins own the other 20 percent of the team.
des $36 million in guaranteed money.
Tomlin said the players' ability to sidestep the inevitable ownership questions will be one measure of their training camp success.
``You've got a good football team when they can do that,'' Tomlin said. ``And not only on that subject, but on any subject that doesn't have anything to do with playing football.''
Tomlin expects to have a full complement of 81 players report to camp Sunday and begin two-a-day practices Monday at St. Vincent College near Latrobe, the Steelers' training camp home for 42 years.
Tomlin said talks with first-round draft pick Rashard Mendenhall, a powerful and quick running back out of Illinois, and second rounder Limas Sweed, a wide receiver out of Texas, are ``going well. We don't anticipate any holdups on those guys going forward in training camp.''
Mendenhall reportedly is looking for a five-year contract, while Sweed is discussing a four-year deal. The other five Steelers draft picks already are signed.
The Steelers hope Sweed becomes the lanky, go-to target Roethlisberger has coveted since Plaxico Burress signed with the New York Giants before the 2005 season.
Tomlin didn't say much about Sweed on Wednesday. But a question about Mendenhall's likely role with the team drew one of Tomlin's most detailed answers.
``The initial plan is he's going to be a supplemental runner, returning kicks,'' Tomlin said. ``The growth of his role will depend on his ability to execute the assignments.''
Noting that Mendenhall just turned 21, Tomlin said the running back has nonetheless ``shown he is mature and unique for a young guy. He's got a nice, humble mentality about it. I won't be shocked if he ends up doing some nice things.''
One thing he's not expected to do right away is replace Willie Parker, who is coming off a season-ending broken leg.
As for the offensive line that will be charged with opening holes for Parker and Mendenhall, Max Starks is penciled in at right tackle, while Sweed's college teammate, fourth-round draft pick Tony Hills, will be given a shot to win the left tackle job, Tomlin said.
Center Sean Mahan will compete with free agent Justin Hartwig in what Tomlin said might be the offensive line's most ``hotly contested battle.''

Recent NFL Discussions

Betting the 2017 NFL Draft on Tue, Apr 2017 by Blade
NFL Draft Preview on Tue, Apr 2017 by Blade
2017 Heisman Odds on Wed, Mar 2017 by Blade
College / NBA today on Sun, Mar 2017 by TtomBoBadly
SNOW on Tue, Mar 2017 by Michael Cash

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Alabama NFL Draft Odds The Alabama Crimson Tide could have a lot of players taken in the first round of the NFL Draft next week. How many...
Thumbnail Odds Theory & Fantasy: Perfect Combo In America alone over 110 million people settled down to watch February’s Super Bowl and were rewarded by a game which saw many twists and turns along the way. Of...
Thumbnail Romo moving to CBS After a lot of discussion about where Tony Romo will be next season, it appears that he will be behind a broadcast booth.
Thumbnail Patriots remain SB52 Favorites With NFL free agency slowing down dramatically over the past week, here's a look at the most recent Super Bowl 52 odds to win.
Thumbnail The Next Atlanta Falcons Despite suffering one of the greatest collapses in sports history at Super Bowl LI, the Atlanta Falcons still managed to overcome significant odds to reach the NFL’s...

NFL Team Pages