Former USC quarterback Carson Palmer said Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin could be a "wild card" for the Trojans' head-coaching vacancy.
"That's what's so great about the job," Palmer said on the Dan Patrick Show. "It can lure an NFL guy that's tired of their current situation and worried about, 'Is Ben Roethlisberger gone? Is he done? Who are we gonna draft?' Does Mike Tomlin have to start over with a first-round, young rookie quarterback?"
Dan Patrick Show @dpshow
Carson Palmer has been included in conversations surrounding <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USC?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USC</a> next Head Football Coach and he says <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Steelers?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Steelers</a> HC Mike Tomlin is a name that could be in the mix. <a href="https://t.co/GJpar0cZUy">pic.twitter.com/GJpar0cZUy</a>
Tomlin has been the Steelers' head coach since 2007 and signed a three-year extension in April that keeps him under contract through the 2024 season. The Steelers have had only three coaches since 1969. Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher, Tomlin's two predecessors, left after retiring from football.
While some NFL coaches have left their pro jobs for college in the past, it would be unprecedented for someone of Tomlin's tenure to depart for USC. The Steelers aren't a franchise that would automatically fire Tomlin in the case of one or two lean years, either, with their loyalty also ranking as unprecedented.
Tomlin also has no ties to USC or the Los Angeles area, making the fit even less likely.
The more likely scenario is USC filling its vacancy with one of several college names listed as candidates or potentially an NFL coordinator. The Trojans appear likely to make a splash with their next hire, with Clay Helton proving an uninspired choice that led to largely uninspired results.
The program has finished inside the top five of the AP poll only once since Pete Carroll left for the Seattle Seahawks following the 2009 season.