Mike Tomlin invites kids he found fighting in street to Steelers practice

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Among NFL head coaches, only Bill Belichick has been with his current team longer than Mike Tomlin, who, in addition to being the second-winningest coach in Steelers franchise history, is also a tremendous role model.

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Earlier this week, Tomlin showed us what humility and kindness look like, taking a group of kids under his wing after seeing a fight break out while driving through town. Rather than admonish the combatants, Tomlin spent several hours getting to know them, later inviting the youngsters—all members of a local community center—to Steelers training camp at St. Vincent College. Wednesday they attended practice, joining Tomlin on the field for ladder drills led by star running back Najee Harris.

There’s more to football than X’s and O’s as being a successful coach, especially in the NFL, requires patience and above all, empathy. It’s a touching sentiment, and not necessarily what you’d expect from Tomlin, who doesn’t come off as particularly approachable, an intimidating sideline presence known for running a tight ship. Maybe age has softened Tomlin, or more likely, he saw an opportunity to make a difference, reminding us that true leadership goes far beyond the locker room.

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