When Mike Tomlin was hired to be the new Steelers head coach, it was natural to wonder what the players thought of the move. When mini-camp started, again, it was natural to ask the players about their new sideline boss and get a feel for what playing for him is like After all, it was the beginning of a new era and for most players on the roster, Bill Cowher had been the only pro coach they had ever had. Now, I can honestly say: I don’t care! I’ve had my fill of hearing players say things like: “I don’t know what direction this team is going in.” And: “Well, he’s never coached in the NFL before so we don’t know what to expect.” Or the now famous dinner conversation between Tomlin and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger where Big Ben told Mighty Mike that he’s starting “Behind the eight ball a little bit.” and that Tomlin would have to “Earn the players respect and trust.” These players need to realize that Tomlin is the coach now, he’s who the Rooneys selected. Bill Cowher (and for that matter Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm) are gone. Maybe the Steeler players would be better served to do whatever they can to impress the new guy. Work hard, practice hard, show your support by your attitude and actions on the field. Based on the Steelers’ past history with head coaches, Tomlin’s not going anywhere for a while. So, my suggestion: be quiet, strap on your helmet, and play football! If Tomlin is as good as advertised, the rest should take care of itself!

Alan Faneca’s declaration that he’s not happy with his contract and wants out of Pittsburgh was more than just lip service. The All-Pro guard appears serious that he wants no part of being a Pittsburgh Steeler if the franchise doesn’t pay him what he feels he’s worth.

In fact, his biting comments against Steelers management could lead one to believe that he’s been lied to by Kevin Colbert and the Rooneys about getting a contract extension.

I’m not so sure that he was lied to, because let’s face it: this is what the Steelers do. They sign you, let you play out your deal, and then make a business decision whether or not to keep you around.

The pattern was set years ago.

Levon Kirkland; great linebacker, a few Pro Bowls, got a little too big, a little too old, he’s gone!

Jason Gildon; signed to a new deal, production fell off (dramatically), see ya!

Antwaan Randle El; thanks for the touchdown pass to win us the Super Bowl! You want how much? Buh-bye!

Plaxico Burress; the Giants are offering how much? Nice knowin’ ya!

Faneca has every right to be upset. He’s made the last 6 Pro Bowls. Heck, he even played tackle back in ’03 when the offensive line was completely shot. But he shouldn’t be surprised.

Right or wrong, unless you are a quarterback or a widely popular and productive player like Hines Ward or Troy Polamalu, you’re done when the Steelers are done with you. So long, Alan! We hardly knew ‘ye!

Almost immediately after the Steelers selected Florida State linebacker Lawrence Timmons with the number 15 pick overall, no less than three beat writers who cover the NFL Draft extensively told me that it was a bad pick. They cited issues with Timmons’ size (Just under 6’1″ and 234 pounds) as well his conditioning (or lack thereof). One writer told me that Timmons was so out of shape during his Pro-Day workout that his agent, Drew Rosenhaus had to apologize to the scouts who were in attendance. When asked about it, Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin strongly denied that ever happening. But, you have to ask yourself: What’s up with that? Is it a cause for concern? Not really. Kids who are still in college haven’t exactly mastered the art of eating right and keeping in shape. Now that he’s a pro, I’m quite sure Timmons will work with the Steelers’ trainers and learn the proper ways of taking care of his body. What concerns me about Lawrence Timmons is his lack of experience. He was only a starter for one season at FSU, and his production was good, but not great. Time will tell, of course and hopefully, he’ll be a productive player for years to come in the Steelers’ defense. As for the rest of the draft; Hey, you won’t find a bigger Willie Parker fan than me! But, it’s a little curious to take a tight end in the third round and trade up to get a punter in the fourth, when good complimentary running backs like Tony Hunt of Penn State and Antonio Pittman of Ohio State are still on the board. I know, Steelers fans, you were begging for your team to take Louisville’s Michael Bush before the Raiders did, but I think not taking him was the right move. Bush has been called the next Jerome Bettis ever since his junior year. But, let’s remember: this guy is still recovering from a serious leg injury. He’s had not one, but two metal rods placed in that leg and there’s no guarantee he’ll be ready to play this season. I thought their last two picks, defensive lineman and cornerback, were good selections which should add much needed depth to the Steelers defense. So, what grade to I give the Steelers draft overall? C-minus. But I reserve the right to change that grade in about three or four years. Stay tuned!