BRADENTON, Fla. (93-7 THE FAN) — Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and General Manager Kevin Colbert made their annual stop at Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training on Friday, in-between their pre-draft workouts and free agency talks.
“It’s great to be in the presence of a group that’s really gearing up for the battle,” Tomlin said. “We feel that energy, we’re supporters. Obviously from a sports business standpoint, but as Pittsburghers, we’re fans.”
Tomlin also said he’s able to talk often with manager Clint Hurdle and just pick his brain on how to handle issues.
“Countless things to be honest with you,” Tomlin said of what he’s learned from Hurdle. “The guys that know Clint, know the type of man that he is. I benefit from his almost daily messages of inspiration of focus and oftentimes utilize them. As leaders, we have somewhat lonely jobs and I think we connect on that level. He’s been very helpful to me over the years with his perspective.”
Hurdle said he loves the lens that Tomlin has on certain issues.
“There’s not a whole lot of people you can call up and say, ‘I know this has happened to you before. What do you got?’”
Hurdle also said that Tomlin has helped him a few times with player issues.
Tomlin says he attends 15-20 Pirates games a year, sitting on the first base side, and describes himself as a “hard-core” fan.
“It’s great to step into a stadium without that angst that’s associated with competition,” Tomlin added. “When I step into PNC to watch them work, I have zero angst.”
Tomlin also said he was honored to talk to the team before their game on Friday and he noticed, and maybe pondered, having a certain Bucco first baseman in his locker room.
“I think this year I might be looking at [Josh] Bell. I got a good, close-up look at Bell. The shoulders on Bell, I’m sure there is something he could do for us,” he said.
“He’s got his eye on one guy every time he comes in,” Hurdle joked. “He also says to the players, ‘If you want to play a little football, give me a wink on the way out.’ I tell him there is no eligibility here. Move on. Him and Colbert, I made sure we had a head count after they left.”