PITTSBURGH — It wasn’t a normal Wednesday afternoon around the Steelers facility in the South Side. Mike Tomlin was not concerned with an opponent. He was not strategizing on how to stop anyone’s offense. Instead, Mike Tomlin was concerned with one of his own, his super-star receiver Antonio Brown. And the only offense he had to deal with was the offensive media, wanting to know everything possible about the latest drama surrounding AB.
Tomlin attempted to explain the bizarre series of events that led to Brown not playing in the Steelers must-win week 17 game against Cincinnati. According to Tomlin, Brown, who caught 104 balls for 1,297 yards with 15 touchdowns throughout the season, did complain about a knee injury and was scheduled to have an MRI. The key is scheduled because Brown never actually went to have the test done.
Tomlin also opened up about the fact that Brown failed to communicate with him throughout the week. In fact, Tomlin made it clear he has not heard from the star receiver since Sunday’s game either. Brown’s failure to communicate with the Steelers was the main determining factor in him not playing versus the Bengals.
While the media were packed into a room waiting to hear the head coach speak on the latest drama involving his team, former Steeler James Harrison had a scoop of his own, recording an interview with Brown. The two former teammates and current friends in animosity towards one of the NFL’s most storied franchises were listening to Tomlin while hanging out together. It turns out one of the surprise winners in this whole mess is actually Harrison with his new career as an analyst (or whatever label you want to give him for his constant national appearances).
View this post on Instagram
Despite the drama, and even Brown’s reported request to be traded, Tomlin would not speculate on if the relationship can be mended.
As always, when it comes to the Steelers, stay tuned…
Steelers Promote QB Coach Matt Canada to Offensive Coordinator
The Pittsburgh Steelers have officially promoted quarterbacks coach Matt Canada to offensive coordinator, the organization announced Monday.
We have promoted Matt Canada to offensive coordinator.— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) January 25, 2021
After the Steelers chose not to renew the contract of previous offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, multiple outlets reported on Jan. 16 that the team was planning to hire from within and promote Canada.
The club reportedly also interviewed former Cleveland Browns head coach Hugh Jackson and Los Angeles Chargers quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton, which proved to be mere formalities.
Canada, 48, was also reportedly a candidate for the offensive coordinator opening with the Miami Dolphins, which was filled last week.
Prior to arriving in Pittsburgh ahead of last season, Canada was most recently the offensive coordinator and interim head coach at Maryland in 2018.
He has also made stops as an offensive coordinator at LSU, Pitt, NC State, Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Indiana and Butler.
Canada is most known for his success at Pitt in 2016, where he orchestrated the nation’s tenth-ranked scoring offense averaging 42 points per game. He was recognized as a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top assistant, that season.
Steelers Hire Alfredo Roberts as Tight Ends Coach
The Pittsburgh Steelers have hired Alfredo Roberts as their next tight ends coach, the team announced Monday.
A 22-year coaching veteran, Roberts most recently spent the last four seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers, serving as their tight ends coach this past season and the running back coach the three prior. He has also made previous stops in Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Jacksonville over his career.
Roberts has coached a number of standout tight ends throughout his career, including Mercedes Lewis as a rookie with the Jaguars, and Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener with the Colts.
Roberts fills the vacancy left by previous tight ends coach James Daniel, who announced his retirement on Jan. 14.
The Steelers tight end room will look different in 2021, as veteran Vance McDonald announced his own retirement from football over the weekend. Pittsburgh is expected to return Eric Ebron, who caught 63 passes for 620 yards and six touchdowns this past season, including playoffs.
A native of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Roberts played his collegiate ball at the University of Miami, before being selected in the eight round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. He won a pair of National Championships with the Hurricanes, and two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys.
Roberts caught 50 passes for 476 and two touchdowns over 82 career games.
Steelers Connections Abound in Chiefs-Buccaneers Super Bowl
While the Pittsburgh Steelers saw their Super Bowl LV hopes dashed two weeks ago, fans will recognize plenty of familiar faces when the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet on Feb. 7.
Six players with Steelers ties are expected to take the field in either red or pewter on Super Bowl Sunday, with the two most notable examples being Tampa Bay wide receiver Antonio Brown and Kansas City running back Le’Veon Bell.
Both missed their respective championship games due to injury, but could return to health in time for the Super Bowl with two weeks to recover.
In addition, the Chiefs also boast guard Stefen Wisniewski and punter Dustin Colquitt, who both spent time in Pittsburgh earlier this season.
Wisniewski is in line to make his second-straight Super Bowl start in response to injuries along the Chiefs’ offensive line suffered Sunday, while Colquitt is on Kansas City’s practice squad.
Former Steelers defensive back Ross Cockrell and nose tackle Steve McLendon will take the field for the Buccaneers defensively.
But Tampa Bay’s Pittsburgh connections do not stop on the field, as the Buccaneers will also have six coaches with Steeler ties on the sideline for the big game, including head coach Bruce Arians.
Arians, who is in his second season in Tampa, spent eight years in Pittsburgh, serving as wide receivers coach (2004-06) before being elevated to offensive coordinator (2007-11).
Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich played under Arians in Pittsburgh, and had three separate stints with the Steelers as a backup quarterback to Ben Roethlisberger.
Tampa Bay also boasts assistant head coach and run game coordinator Harold Goodwin, outside linebackers coach Larry Foote, offensive assistant Antwaan Randle El and assistant coach Tom Moore.
Even with the Steelers at home watching along with the rest of the country, Pittsburgh should have no shortage of rooting interests when the Chiefs meet the Buccaneers in Tampa in two weeks time.