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Steelers president Art Rooney II supports Mike Tomlin, has 'had enough' of playoff win drought

When a CEO, or a team owner says they've had enough, usually it doesn't bode well for those reporting to that individual.

For the Steelers, it simply means now is the time to turn the corner.

"We've had enough of this," Steelers owner and team president Art Rooney II said, via ESPN. "It's time to get some wins, it's time to take these next steps."

The next steps already began with the Steelers' coaching staff, where some wondered whether Mike Tomlin would return in 2024. He'd just led the Steelers on a successful operation of desperation, reaching the playoffs by winning all three of their final games, but isn't under contract beyond 2024, which is the first instance in which Tomlin is approaching a contract year during his long tenure in Pittsburgh.

While admitting everyone is growing impatient in a town that hasn't celebrated a playoff win since 2016, Rooney quelled those concerns Monday.

"I think the players still respond to Mike and that's number one," Rooney said. "He still has the key characteristics that we saw when we hired him. He can keep the attention of a group of 20-year-olds for a whole season and keep them in the fight for the whole way.

"So, still feel good about Mike. Obviously if I didn't, [we] would make a change but if we didn't think Mike was able to lead us to a championship, he wouldn't be here and that's why he is here."

There are other items to address as well, namely at offensive coordinator and quarterback. Despite watching Kenny Pickett struggle throughout most of his truncated second year in the NFL, Rooney still believes in Pickett, while also welcoming competition in what he hopes is the form of Mason Rudolph.

"We still feel good about Kenny Pickett and his future, but he knows he needs to work hard to take the next step," Rooney said. "And we've talked about that, and one of the things I think we liked about Kenny in terms of his career at Pitt was that how hard he worked, and he took a step every year. So, we're looking for that to happen here."

It's easy to see a theme emerging here: Essentially, there's no more grace period for the Steelers. 2024 will be about results, not projections, and that goes for the entire operation.

"Certainly there's a resolve there and a determination there," Rooney said of Tomlin. "And I think I said before, I think all of us that have been around for a little while are anxious to take this next step -- and getting a little impatient -- and we need to see the kind of improvement we all want to see. Mike believes that as firmly as anybody else in the building."

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