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Steelers OC Search Updates: Brown Let Go, Competition for Johnson

Steelers OC candidate Thomas Brown will not return to Carolina, while Jerrod Johnson gets a second interview in New Orleans.



Pittsburgh Steelers OC Thomas Brown
Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Thomas Brown looks on before an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

When the Pittsburgh Steelers interviewed Thomas Brown for their vacant offensive coordinator position, he was still technically the offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers.

Now, he is fully a free agent. Josh Person of The Athletic reported on Saturday, that Brown will not return to the Carolina coaching staff after owner David Tepper announced the hiring of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator David Canales on Thursday.

Brown was the only one of the four candidates with confirmed interest in the Steelers offensive coordinator job that had previously held the position. He spent the 2023 season as the Carolina offensive coordinator under head coach Frank Reich after spending the previous three seasons with the Los Angeles Rams under Sean McVay.

The Steelers let Brown go after their first interview without an apparent contract offer, and they have continued to interview others, so it’s not clear if he remains in consideration for the position or not at this point.

Brown also interviewed with the Chicago Bears before they hired former Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron and remains in the mix for the vacant New England Patriots OC position.


Jerrod Johnson, who became the fourth person with confirmed interest and the second interview for the position on Thursday, had a second interview in-person with the New Orleans Saints for their vacancy on Saturday.

Johnson, a one-time Steelers preseason quarterback, is just 35 years old and the youngest and least experienced of the candidates identified so far. But his performance in helping to mold Texans Rookie of the Year quarterback C.J. Stroud has made him a hot commodity in the offensive coordinator market.

Johnson has also interviewed with the Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns. All of those jobs remain open.


Canales being hired away from Tampa and Brown’s ouster in Carolina now means that the Steelers are one of nine teams that are currently hiring an offensive coordinator. The Browns, Buccaneers, Eagles, Panthers, Patriots, Las Vegas Raiders, Saints, Seattle Seahawks and Steelers all have OC vacancies. 

Additionally, the Buffalo Bills are interviewing candidates for their position, despite having so-far retained interim OC Joe Brady. The Washington Commanders have interviewed offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy for their head coach vacancy. If he doesn’t get that job, he could also be on the open market and make for a 10th OC opening.