After not getting the head coaching position for the Denver Broncos, Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak was all but set to remain in Pittsburgh for the 2019 season. Whispers about Munchak still potentially joining the Broncos as their offensive line coach went through the air, yet nothing appeared to be serious.
However, Mike Klis of Denver’s 9News reports Munchak has accepted a position to be the Broncos offensive line coach, the same spot Munchak has held on the coaching staff in Pittsburgh since 2014.
The move comes as a surprise to many people around the league and in the Steelers organization, especially after Denver originally denied him after interviewing for the vacant head coaching position.
The reasons for leaving Pittsburgh have yet to be stated from Munchak, yet the Broncos likely offered him a more lucrative contract with his current contract with the team expiring. Another potential reason for Munchak opting to move to Denver could be the current state of the Steelers franchise, with Munchak just wanting to get away from the drama-dominated headlines surrounding the Steelers.
In either case, Munchak slipped from the Steelers’ grasp. A large hole now resides in the coaching staff, one that will need great shoes to fill for whoever takes the job.
“He’s such a good person and he’s such an admirable man in every single way. The way he behaves, the way he carries himself. He’s very consistent, treats everybody the same. He’s always the same person.” Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva said about Munchak, per 247 Sports.
Potential candidates have not been solidified, yet some believe former Steelers guard Alan Faneca could potentially land the job with Munchak departing. While the Steelers continue to sort through their ever-growing list of problems, Munchak will begin a new chapter in his coaching career in Denver.
Steelers Announce 2020 Preseason Schedule
The Steelers have announced dates and times for their 2020 Preseason schedule.
Pittsburgh will start the year early in Canton, taking on the Dallas Cowboys in the annual Hall of Fame game. This will be the Steelers’ seventh appearance.
The Hall of Fame game will kickoff Thursday, Aug. 6 at 8 p.m. on NBC, shown locally on WPXI-TV.
The team will then return to Pittsburgh for a two-game home stand against NFC South foes.
Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will come to town on Friday, Aug. 14, a primetime matchup at 7:30 p.m. on CBS/KDKA-TV.
Next, another home game for the Steelers, this time against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Aug. 23. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. on FOX/WPGH-TV.
The Steelers will close out their preseason slate with a pair of road contests.
First, a date with a familiar face, as they take on Le’Veon Bell and the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Friday, Aug. 28.
Pittsburgh will close out the preseason schedule on Thursday, Sept. 3 in Charlotte against the Carolina Panthers.
Both games are at 7:30 p.m. on CBS/KDKA-TV.
The Steelers went 3-1 in the preseason last year, with their only loss coming in the finale, also against the Panthers.
Thursday, Aug. 6, 8 p.m. vs. Dallas Cowboys at Canton, Ohio
Friday, Aug. 14, 7:30 p.m. vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, Aug. 23, 8 p.m. vs. New Orleans Saints
Friday, Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m. at New York Jets
Thursday, Sept. 3, 7:30 p.m. at Carolina Panthers
Monday, Sept. 14, 7:15 p.m. at New York Giants
Sunday, Sept. 20, 1 p.m. vs. Denver Broncos
Sunday, Sept. 27, 1 p.m. vs. Houston Texans
Sunday, Oct. 4, 1 p.m. at Tennessee Titans
Sunday, Oct. 11, 1 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, Oct. 18, 1 p.m. vs. Cleveland Browns
Sunday, Oct. 25, 1 p.m. at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, Nov. 1 BYE WEEK
Sunday, Nov. 8, 4:25 p.m. at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, Nov. 15, 1 p.m. vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, Nov. 22, 1 p.m. at Jacksonville Jaguars
Thursday, Nov. 26, 8:20 p.m. vs. Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, Dec. 6, 1 p.m. vs. Washington Redskins
Sunday, Dec. 13, 8:20 p.m. at Buffalo Bills
Sunday, Dec. 21, 8:15 p.m. at Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, Dec. 27, 1 p.m. vs. Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, Jan. 3, 1 p.m. at Cleveland Browns
Steelers Announces Jerseys Numbers for Rookies and Free Agents
The Steelers have announced jersey numbers for the rookies and free agents they added this off-season.
Wide receiver Chase Claypool already revealed on his Twitter last week he would be wearing No. 11, but the team announced Wednesday that outside linebacker Alex Highsmith will wear No. 56.
The Steelers made a splash this off-season adding a tight end Eric Ebron, who will stick with his No. 85 jersey he wore with the Colts. They also beefed up the offensive line by signing Stefen Wisniewski. He will also stick with the number he has held his entire career, No. 61.
The pair of Maryland Terrapins selected in the 2020 NFL Draft — Anthony McFarland Jr. and Antoine Brooks Jr. — will wear No. 26 and 25, respectively.
Continuing with the theme of Steelers rookies, fourth round guard Kevin Dotson has chosen No. 69.
Seventh round nose tackle Carlos Davis will wear No. 73.
Steelers Exercise T.J. Watt’s 5th Year Option
The Steelers have exercised the fifth-year option on the contract of outside linebacker T.J. Watt, the team announced on Tuesday.
Watt, 25, is set to enter his fourth year with the Steelers this fall after joining the team as a first-round draft pick out of Wisconsin in 2017.
All first-round rookie contracts come with a fifth-year option. After exercising the option on Watt, he will be with the Steelers through at least the end of the 2021 season. The exact salary figures for 2017 draft class options has not yet been released.
The Steelers previously exercised their fifth-year option for 2015 first-round pick, linebacker Bud Dupree in advance of the 2018 season. They declined to extend the contract of 2016 first-round pick, cornerback Artie Burns this offseason, and he signed with the Chicago Bears in free agency.
Watt has started 48 of 49 games for the Steeles since he was drafted. In 2018, he led the NFL with eight forced fumbles and also set career highs in sacks (14.5), tackles for loss (14), passes defended (eight), fumbles recovered (four), interceptions (two) and quarterback hits (35). He was named to his second Pro Bowl and was selected as a first-team All-Pro for the first time in his career.
Watt was one of several Steelers players that were set to become a free agent following the end of the 2020 season, along with Dupree, defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, cornerback Joe Haden, running back James Conner, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and tackles Matt Feiler and Alejandro Villanueva, among others.