Most times, Mike Tomlin is cool, calm, and collected. But even Coach T can get a little angry. For ex-Steelers’ return man Stefan Logan, he saw Tomlin lose that cool only twice.
In an interview with the ChainGang Podcast, one that was recorded in 2022 but still has some great stories, Logan described those two moments that upset Tomlin.
“Mike Tomlin, I only saw him get mad twice,” Logan told the show. “One time was because Santonio Holmes missed the morning on two-a-days. He wasn’t even mad. He just said, ‘we’re going to fine him, and that’s it.’ That’s the end of that.”
Logan played for the Steelers throughout the 2009 season and was cut in the summer of 2010 so he wasn’t with the team for a long time. That 2009 season was also Holmes’ last, traded to the New York Jets the following offseason after a long list of off-field concerns that led him to be suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season.
But as Logan says, that didn’t set Tomlin off. What happened at another point during the season did.
“We was in practice. The practice was kinda a shitty practice. Up and down, up and down. We got into team [period]…we just looked like trash. He came out. He blew the whistle. ‘Start all this over!’ When he said start over, he thought start over the period. He said, ‘no, start over from stretch.’ What? Start over from stretch? We’re three periods in. He made the strength and conditioning come back out there. He almost simulated everything from walking out of the tunnel, coming to practice. He’s like, ‘I want you to start all this over.’”
And so practice started like what they had gone through never happened. Logan says the backhalf of practice had to be cut short due to CBA rules of how long each session can be. But the point was made. Tomlin didn’t like to see his team just go through the motions and not display good effort.
For Logan, 2009 was his first full season in the NFL. Initially signed but released by the Miami Dolphins, he made his way to the CFL for the BC Lions. After a strong showing there, the NFL came calling again. Logan told the show he had offers from the Steelers and Carolina Panthers but his agent essentially made the decision to go to Pittsburgh given their culture and winning ways, just coming off their sixth Super Bowl win.
As Logan tells it, he realized he was being signed as a “camp body” who wasn’t taken seriously to make the team. He quickly shifted the conversation with a great summer, capped off by an 80-yard punt return touchdown in the preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers (and look who wrote the article – it’s our Steelers Depot editor Scott Brown!). And here’s a look at the play, cementing his spot on the 53-man roster. For years after, Tomlin would remind players and media of Logan’s ascent.
Logan served as the Steelers’ starting returner throughout the season, running back 30 punts and 55 kicks (back when kick returns were a thing). But Logan would spend only one full year with the team, released ahead of the 2010 season with him telling the show he was crying after being told the news, unsure why the team let him go.
A day later, the Detroit Lions picked him up and he spent three years there, returning a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown in 2010. After falling back out of the NFL, he would play in the CFL for many more years until his football career ended after the 2019 season with the Ottawa Redblacks ahead of his 39th birthday. He’s one of a couple of Steelers to have long CFL careers, joining CB Crezdon Butler, who played up north into his mid-30s.
You can listen to the full interview below.