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New Steelers OC Haley lauds franchise's strong traditions

PITTSBURGH -- Throughout the 16 minutes that followed him glowingly introducing former Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley as his new offensive coordinator, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin stood proudly in the corner of the second-floor media room at the team's facility.

During the press conference officially announcing Haley as the replacement for former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, Tomlin even offered approving nods and smiles at the appropriate times.

"As an offensive coordinator, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience," Tomlin said. "But he also brings intangibles I really value."

Amid reports that Steelers president Art Rooney II orchestrated the departure of Arians and pushed for Haley to be his replacement above Tomlin's wishes, Tomlin made it a point to mention he was the one conducting the interviews for Arians' replacement.

"When I started this process of exploring potential coordinators, I talked to a lot of people and did a lot of research, and I was really impressed by him," Tomlin said. "Not only by his resume and his experience, but also his genuine love for the Pittsburgh Steelers."

A 15-year NFL coaching veteran, Haley stressed his ties to the Steelers organization and his reverence for its tradition. The son of former Steelers director of player personnel Dick Haley reminisced about growing up a team ball boy.

"All of my early memories in life somehow," Haley said, "revolved around the Steelers.

"I'm just very grateful coach Tomlin and the Rooney family thought enough of me to have me in here to help be part of continued greatness."

Haley, 44, was fired in December after going 19-26 in two-plus seasons in Kansas City, leading the Chiefs to the 2010 AFC West title. As offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals the previous two seasons, Haley's offense was second in the NFL in passing.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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