ALAMEDA CA - JANUARY 18: New Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson looks on during a press conference on January 18 2011 in Alameda California. Hue Jackson was introduced as the new coach of the Oakland Raiders replacing the fired Tom Cable. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NFL Network's Jason La Canfora, one of the first reporters to formally link Haley to the Steelers' open position, tweeted Monday Tomlin had met with former Raiders head coach Hue Jackson before news broke today of the reported offer to Haley.
The same Jackson recently fired by Oakland after openly criticizing his team after a Week 17 loss to San Diego - a game the Raiders needed to win for a shot at the playoffs.
Was Jackson a candidate? Perhaps he was, just as much as former Colts coach Jim Caldwell. Tomlin had met with Caldwell, who was recently dispatched by Indianapolis. Along with Haley's interview, the men Tomlin met with (whether they were formal interviews or the men were realistic candidates for the job remains to be seen) were head coaches at the start of the 2011 season, and all of them have offensive backgrounds.
It begs the question, what exactly was he looking for in that candidate?
One plausible answer is he wanted those candidates to give him their impression of what they themselves wanted in an offensive coordinator.
There's only one report of an offer being made, and that is to Haley, per Mark Carmen of AM 610 in Kansas City. Caldwell's meeting with Tomlin may not have been an interview, but sources confirmed the two met face-to-face. Caldwell left town without a contract offer, though. The news of Jackson's meeting with Tomlin over the weekend suggests Tomlin was beating the street for information from recently employed offensive minds.
Maybe the whole thing was a big face-to-face background check on Haley from some of their collective peers in the AFC. It's hard not to respect that mentality.
Either way, despite disagreements with the supposed hire of Haley, it seems Tomlin put in the sweat effort to find the right leader for the position.
It's a long wait until we'll see the results of what seems to be a new direction for the Steelers offense, but until then, let's hope Tomlin puts the same effort into researching the issues he'll have on the defensive line this upcoming year.