Carson Palmer Accidentally Leaks Mike Tomlin as Possible Next USC HC, Says ‘Uh-Oh’

by Matthew Memrick

Former NFL star and Southern Cal product Carson Palmer had a bit of an oops moment Monday, telling a sports talk show host that his former school could eye Mike Tomlin as head coach.

Dan Patrick asked the question on his show, and the former Trojan quarterback’s mention is significant. Granted, would the current Pittsburgh Steelers head coach head down to the college ranks when several NFL teams could want him? He’d probably stay with the pros.

But this was a juicy story on an otherwise ordinary day.  

Palmer’s ‘Uh-oh’ moment

It all started with Palmer talking about his level of involvement with the current coaching search, saying he was “involved as they’ll let me be.” The school bought out Clay Helton’s contract back in September. Reportedly, it was around $20 million last season. With the ouster, it’s probably about $10 million.

Ok, so everybody listen up. Palmer could drop some names. And he did.

Patrick asked if current Penn State coach James Franklin was at the top of the Southern Cal list. But Palmer added that there were a lot of frontrunners as a way to deflect the school’s interest in the coach. 

By the way, names like Bob Stoops, former NFL coach Bill O’Brien and a few other top talents have been in the mix since the search began in September.

But then, Palmer got talking about a current NFL coach.

The former NFL star alluded to Mike Tomlin when talking about possible replacements for the PAC-10 school. He said the Southern Cal job could be his if “he wanted out.”

At 36, Tomlin has made an impact with the Steelers. The Virginia native has never had a losing season in 14 seasons. Currently, the team is 3-3 with a two-game winning streak. The coach has helmed nine playoff runs, seven division titles, three AFC championship wins, two Super Bowl appearances, and a 2009 Super Bowl win.

Patrick pounced on Palmer’s mention of the Super Bowl-winning coach. Kind of. The host said he liked the talk about Mike Tomlin for the job, and Palmer got a deer-in-the-headlights look when he realized he might have broken some news.

He asks Patrick if the Tomlin rumor was new to him, and the former quarterback realizes that he may have caused a significant news story in Pittsburgh Monday.

Palmer tried to play it off as comedy, but we know. Mike Tomlin is now part of the Southern Cal job candidate search. Can’t get that horse back in the pen.

Tomlin Has Some Leverage Now

The coach is among the top ten highest-paid coaches in the league. He stands in at eighth with $8 million per year. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gets $12 million per year while Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, a former Southern Cal coach who jumped in the NFL, is paid $11 million yearly.

Mike Tomlin just signed a three-year contract extension in April with Pittsburgh. Man, the coach’s agent has got to be saying keep talking Carson Palmer! 

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