Originally posted on Bleed Black & Gold  |  Last updated 3/5/12

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 6: Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers watches his team in the first half against the Oakland Raiders during the game on December 6, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Coach Tomlin spoke about the three big names that the Steelers had released over the past week.  Tomlin had nothing but good things to say about the guys.  He made mention to “taking the emotion out of it.”  He knew they were football based decisions and not decisions about how he feels about this group of guys.  He mentioned them as leaders from the time he walked in the door until the time they found out it was the end.  Tomlin also went into how they helped him lead this team when he first came on.  These guys did a lot to help Coach Tomlin win this locker room.  They had each others backs.  That makes this even tougher for a coach like Tomlin.  He owes these guys and respects them.  He did what he had to do for his football team though.  He had to keep the ball moving forward.

Here is what Tomlin had to say on each guy.

Hines Ward

“Just an unbelievable competitor. A guy who has unique will within an industry of men who have unique will,” said Tomlin about Ward. “He distinguishes himself in that way. It has been well-documented that his skill at times has not been extraordinary, and he embraces that, but he is a heckuvan athlete. A tremendous player. But I think the thing that separates him from just about every other man who has played in this league during the time he has played in this league is his unique will.”

Aaron Smith

“A blue-collar, lunch pail guy from day zero to the last day. A guy who has a genuine love affair with the game of football,” said Tomlin about Smith. “All these guys love football. Aaron is one of the guys who loves every aspect of the game – the drudgery, the routine, the team-building, training camp. Aaron has a genuine love affair with the game of football that is unique. He’s the type of guy who is mature enough and has the type of perspective that he can appreciate it while it’s going on. That’s one of the things I’ve always respected about him. Often, guys appreciate it once it’s over. Aaron is one of those guys you acknowledge appreciated it while it was going on.”

James Farrior

“A unique leader,” said Tomlin about Farrior. “You’re talking about a guy in his mid-30s who has a unique ability to build a rapport with all members of a football team. When you’re talking about professional locker rooms, you’re talking about a wide spectrum of guys, guys in different places in their lives. There are guys who are older and married and settled with families, and there also are young guys who are making the transition from dependence to independence, from amateur athletes to professional athletes. James is a guy who has a unique talent to bring all of those people together, guys at different points in their lives.”

Tomlin did his job in this case even though it was tough.  He has to do what is best for the Steelers.  Even though he loves these guys and wants them here as long as they want to stay he did what he had to do.  That is what we need to see out of the coach.  I

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