The end is near.
Pittsburgh won't enter next season with the NFL's oldest starting defense like in 2012. A core of seven starters over the age of 30 who have combined for a whopping 887 games with the Steelers will be dismantled because of declining performance, lofty salaries or a combination of both.
The names are synonymous with the Steelers and this era of success: James Harrison. Troy Polamalu. Ike Taylor. Ryan Clark. Larry Foote. Brett Keisel. Casey Hampton.
All were with the Steelers when Mike Tomlin became head coach in 2007. They have deservedly earned a place in the franchise's storied defensive history. Without their efforts, Tomlin wouldn't have won one Super Bowl ring or reached another championship game before turning 40 himself.
He is appreciative - and also a realist about the heart-wrenching decisions that will inevitably come.
"It is a natural evolution of this business," Tomlin told FOXSports.com when the subject was broached after Wednesday's practice. "Any ...