Steelers coach Mike Tomlin 'saddened' by developments around former boss Jon Gruden

By Ray Fittipaldo

PITTSBURGH — Steelers coach Mike Tomlin coached for four years under Jon Gruden. He won a Super Bowl with him following the 2002 season and credits Gruden for helping him grow as a young assistant coach.

In the wake of Gruden's resignation following leaked emails that detailed his use of homophobic, racist and misogynistic language, Tomlin addressed the developments around his former boss Tuesday afternoon during his weekly news conference.

"I'm just saddened by it," Tomlin said. "I'm saddened for the Raiders organization. I'm saddened for the people who were offended by it. I'm saddened for coach Gruden. It's a sad commentary. That's the only opinion I care to share at this juncture."

Gruden resigned Monday night after more emails detailed his language in describing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, female officials and homosexuals in the league. This report was preceded by a report from the Wall Street Journal that detailed racist language in an email about NFLPA union head DeMaurice Smith, who is Black.

The Steelers played the Raiders in Week 2, and Tomlin said Gruden had a big influence on him as he made the transition from a college coach to a professional coach early in his career.

"Gruden has no fear," Tomlin said. "He doesn't. He looks at an issue or a problem, and he sees it as an opportunity. I worked for him for four years. You can't fake that. It's every day from him. I've probably always generally had that mentality, but he helped me hone it as a vocation, as a coach. His can-do approach, the positive energy that he consistently brings to whatever challenge that the job presents helped me grow in a big way as a coach when I worked for him as a young guy, for sure."

Gruden was in his second stint as Raiders coach. He coached the Raiders from 1998-2001 and took over again as head coach in 2018 following a stint as the color analyst for ESPN on Monday Night Football. He coached Tampa from 2002-08.

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