Reports differ on new coach



The Steelers contend that they have not chosen Mike Tomlin or Russ Grimm.
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- With differing reports that they have chosen Mike Tomlin or Russ Grimm, the Pittsburgh Steelers do not expect to reach an agreement with their new coach until at least Monday.
The Steelers, who have spent 2 1/2 weeks looking for Bill Cowher's successor, issued a statement Sunday announcing, in effect, they had nothing to announce.
"At this point and time, the Steelers have not concluded a contract agreement with a new head coach, nor do we expect to do so today," Steelers spokesman Dave Lockett said in the statement. "There will be no other announcements from this office today."
Even though the Steelers have not interviewed any candidates since meeting with Tomlin for 3 1/2 hours Tuesday and Grimm for six hours Wednesday, there were a flurry of rumors and conflicting accounts Saturday.
SI.com, Sports Illustrated's Web site, and, later, ESPN.com, reported the Steelers had decided on Tomlin. However, a source with knowledge of the search told The Associated Press the Steelers had not yet offered a contract to the Vikings defensive coordinator or begun contract talks with him.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Steelers do not want details of the search made public until they have made their choice.
The Tomlin report clearly surprised the Steelers, with owner Dan Rooney saying there was nothing to the story.
No comment again
On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review -- citing unidentified sources -- reported that Grimm, the Steelers' assistant head coach, was the choice rather than Tomlin. The Steelers had no comment about that report, either.
Still uncertain is whether the Steelers will have another interview with Chicago defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, their third finalist. He is the only one of the three to not have a second interview.
Since the Bears won the NFC championship game Sunday, the Steelers have to wait until after the Super Bowl Feb. 4 to talk with the Steelers, something they almost certainly will not do.
If the 34-year-old Tomlin is the choice, he would be the fourth consecutive coach hired by the Steelers who was an assistant coach in his 30s with another team before going to Pittsburgh. Bill Austin was 37 when he was chosen in 1966, as was Chuck Noll in 1969. Cowher was 34 when he picked in 1992.
Dan Rooney either made the choice or was involved in hiring all three coaches.
If it is Grimm, he would be the first Steelers' head coach to be promoted from within since Mike Nixon took over in training camp 1965 following the sudden resignation of Buddy Parker, who had signed a three-year contract extension earlier that year. Nixon lasted one season, going 2-12, before Austin took over.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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