Daily Sports Smile: Steelers coach Mike Tomlin gifts players Air Force 1s ahead of season opener – USA TODAY

The Pittsburgh Steelers traveled to Cincinnati for Sunday’s season opener against the AFC North-rival Bengals in style.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin gifted his players new black Air Force 1s — one of Nike’s most popular brands. 
“Bro gave us all black Air Forces,” said a voice in a video posted to running back Najee Harris’ social media and later shared by the Steelers’ team account. The video showcased the new sneakers with laughter in the background and showed Tomlin walking by with a grin on his face.
The famous Nike shoes have become a viral sensation in recent years. Several internet memes feature black Air Force 1s as sneakers meant to elicit a menacing presence by those who wear them.
A post shared by Bleacher Report Kicks (@brkicks)
Pittsburgh also posted a photo of Tomlin wearing the shoes while arriving at the airport.
The Steelers confirmed Tomlin was the one who gave the team their new shoes, but did not elaborate on any further meaning.   
NBA star LeBron James got a kick out of the kicks.
“Coach Tomlin hilarious for that,” the Los Angeles Lakers forward wrote on Twitter with a series of laughing emojis.
🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣!!!! Coach Tomlin hilarious for that https://t.co/vTAjRMNj7i
Sunday is the first of two matchups for the Steelers and Super Bowl runners-up Bengals during the 2022 regular season.
Tomlin, who has been the head coach of the team for more than a decade, is familiar with the rivalry. While the Bengals defend their AFC postseason title, the Steelers continue to rebuild without franchise star Ben Roethlisberger.
“It is important that I give you the answers to the test,” Tomlin told his team ahead of minicamp. “To me, that is just good leadership. I’m not going to change my expectations as we move into a different component of football and not show you where the bright lines are.”
The Bengals represent a difficult test for the Steelers. Last season, Cincinnati won both meetings and outscored Pittsburgh by 45 combined points. But Tomlin has never had a losing season in his 16 years at the helm.
If black Air Force 1s are any indication, he doesn’t plan to lose the upcoming season — at least not without a fight.
“We all bear a little responsibility to make sure that we elevate this floor that we all are walking on around here daily,” Tomlin told the team. “It’s nothing mystical about what it is that we do. If you are trying to be great, participation is required.”
😎 @CoachTomlin pic.twitter.com/RD4mpS8j59


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