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Steady Steelers stay on the four-decade plan

Published: Thursday, July 30 2015 7:32 p.m. MDT

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin answers questions during a news conference on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011, in Fort Worth, Texas. The Steelers will play the Green Bay Packers in NFL football Super Bowl XLV Sunday, Feb. 6.  (Mark Humphrey, Associated Press) Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin answers questions during a news conference on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011, in Fort Worth, Texas. The Steelers will play the Green Bay Packers in NFL football Super Bowl XLV Sunday, Feb. 6. (Mark Humphrey, Associated Press)

DALLAS — Instead of focusing on the eight Super Bowl trips and six Lombardi trophies, Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell likes to talk about these numbers: four and nine.

That's four players he's coached on the Pittsburgh roster for nine or more seasons.

Mitchell's veteran linemen — Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, Aaron Smith and Chris Hoke — may not be the Steel Curtain of the 1970s, but they speak to a larger truth. They were brought to the team, given time to develop and never jettisoned when the going got tough. And through it all, they were coached to play a single, specific style.

In short, that's the "Steeler Way" — an unwavering devotion to getting one kind of player and playing one brand of football.

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