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Sights and Sounds from Steelers OTA No. 2

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PITTSBURGH — The Steelers rookie class of 2019 is getting right into the mix of things during OTAs this week.

First-round pick Devin Bush has been making defensive calls during team drills and was working alongside returning starter Vince Williams during drills on Wednesday. Justin Layne showed off his high-point abilities while working with defensive backs coach Tom Bradley.

On the other side of the ball, third-round pick Diontae Johnson has turned heads two days in a row, with Ben Roethlisberger praising his work on Wednesday and JuJu Smith-Schuster doing so on Thursday. The Toledo said he’s been working both inside and outside as the Steelers try to find the best role for the versatile pass catcher.

Check out that and more in the sights and sounds from OTA No. 2:

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Steelers

Steelers Hire Alfredo Roberts as Tight Ends Coach

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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.

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NFL

Steelers Connections Abound in Chiefs-Buccaneers Super Bowl

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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.

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Steelers

Report: Steelers OL Coach Candidate Hank Fraley Retained in Detroit

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Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Hank Fraley will reportedly be retained as the Detroit Lions’ offensive line coach, according to the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett.

Pittsburgh reportedly interviewed Fraley last Thursday for their offensive line coach vacancy, but he has opted to remain with Detroit under new head coach Dan Campbell.

Fraley was a standout at Robert Morris before signing with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2000. He was waived prior to the season, but played ten seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Rams. Fraley has spent the last two seasons as Detroit’s offensive line coach.

Pittsburgh’s search for their next offensive coordinator and line coach continues. The Steelers chose not to retain Randy Fichtner and Shaun Sarrett earlier this month.

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