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Pittsburgh Steelers coach disses New England Patriots

By Alex Butler

May 10 (UPI) -- Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin drew ire from New England Patriots fans last postseason for taking a stab at their team. On Friday he was at it again in a speech at Robert Morris University.

The Pittsburgh Steelers coach took the stage at the school to give the commencement speech for the class of 2017. During his speech, Tomlin offered advice and insight to the large crowd of graduates. He also used a cliché, which typically complains an expletive, to describe the Patriots.

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"I'll proceed with a couple assumptions," Tomlin told the students. "I realize that assumptions are very dangerous. There's a cliché about 'assuming,' isn't there? It can make Patriots out of you and me."

"I'll proceed with the assumption that, in some form or fashion, one or more of you out there are somehow live-streaming this on the Internet," Tomlin said. "I'll behave accordingly."

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During the playoffs last year, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown filmed the team's locker room after its win against the Kansas City Chiefs. He caught Tomlin's postgame speech to the team on video. Brown streamed the footage on Facebook Live.

It was later reported that Brown has an endorsement deal with Facebook.

"Let's say very little moving forward. Let's start our preparations. We spotted those [expletive] a day and a half," Tomlin told the Steelers, talking about the Patriots. "But you ain't gotta tell them we coming...Keep a low profile."

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Tomlin started his football coaching career in 1995, coaching wide receivers at Virginia Military Institute. He earned $12,000 annually. He became a graduate assistant at the University of Memphis in 1996, before spending two years at Arkansas State and the University of Cincinnati. He was hired in 2001 as the defensive backs coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he served until 2005.

Tomlin, 45, was the Minnesota Vikings' defensive coordinator in 2006, before being hired by the Steelers in 2007. He won a Super Bowl in his second year as a head coach and went to another championship in 2010. The Hampton, Va. native has a 103-57 record as a head coach and is 8-6 in the playoffs.

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The coach also used his speech to discuss the late Steelers owner Dan Rooney, preparation and chasing your passion.

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A lot can be written and said about Ambassador Rooney, his greatness, all of which I'm sure is true," Tomlin said.

"In the recent days, I think the memory that I reflect upon most was just how thoughtful he was. I fight every day to emulate it. I challenge you to do the same. Very powerful and influential man, Dan Rooney. A lot on his plate, a lot of things that he wanted to do not only for his company, but for his community, his city, his nation.

"In the midst of pursuit of all those things, he was always shockingly thoughtful. I can't give you enough levels of examples to display his thoughtfulness. A phone call, a stop by your office, a small conversation, a hand written note in the mail when I just had lunch with him. How many of us in today's society take the time to express ourselves to those that we care about, those that we interact with in the form of the written word. A note, a few lines of thoughtfulness, expression, appreciation for a job well done or a few words of encouragement."

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"That was Ambassador Dan Rooney. That's what I think about when I think about how he impact me both professionally and personally."

Steelers legend Jerome Bettis recently echoed Tomlin's sentiment about Rooney.

"He always had an open door policy," Bettis told UPI last week. "Whenever you had any kind of issue, any kind of problem, you could always walk in and talk to him. And he was constantly walking around the facility, shaking hands and saying hello.

"He wanted the players to understand that it was more than just football. When the owner takes a personal interest in all the players, he knows everybody and their wives, and their families, then their players respond in kind, and want to run through a brick wall for the organization because he knows that the people, starting from the top down to the players, care about you as a person."

Robert Morris is located in the Moon suburb of Pittsburgh. Tomlin received an honorary degree.

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