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Rooney says Haley was Tomlin's call; Caldwell was also a finalist

  • By NFL.com
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Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II said Thursday that it was head coach Mike Tomlin's idea -- not his -- to hire Todd Haley as Pittsburgh's new offensive coordinator.

"I think the bottom line is, Mike was comfortable that's who he wanted to come in," Rooney said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "It may be fair to say that when he started the discussions and Todd's name was on his original list, I don't think he expected that Todd was the guy he was going to wind up hiring. But as he had more conversations with him, he became more comfortable that he was the right guy for the job."

Rooney spoke to the newspaper to dispel speculation that he insisted on hiring Haley to replace Bruce Arians, whose contract was not renewed.

Rooney said Haley and former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell were the only candidates Tomlin invited to Pittsburgh for interviews. He said he and general manager Kevin Colbert were kept informed by the coach.

"I wouldn't want my role in it to be overestimated because Mike has to decide who he wants on the staff. Even though there's always a discussion between me and Mike about who he's hiring and how much we're paying him and those kinds of things, it's normally a discussion of the business side of the arrangement than, 'Are we going to hire a guy who's going to run the ball so many times a game?' It was a fairly normal process as far as I'm concerned."

Haley's father, Dick Haley, played four seasons for the Steelers, and was their director of player personnel for 20 years. Rooney said that had nothing to do with Todd Haley being a candidate for the job.

Rooney said he foresees no problem between quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Haley. Roethlisberger told the Post-Gazette last week that he's heard "both good and bad about Haley."

"I had a good conversation with Ben the other day and he's anxious to get started and to get to know him," Rooney said. "It's February."

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