The hiring of offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, which was made official by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday, has proved to be a controversial one with the fanbase.
Klemm, who spent the last two seasons as the team’s assistant offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett, wasn’t rumored to be a candidate in the early days of the search, as the team did interview or request to interview several external candidates.
At one point, the it was reported that the Steelers were waiting to make their offensive coordinator hiring official because the team was prioritizing hiring a line coach.
Several weeks later, Klemm’s internal promotion was announced, giving many the impression that he was not the Steelers’ first choice for the job.
The 43-year-old Klemm comes with some baggage, as well, as he is part of a still-pending lawsuit against UCLA that alleged he and other other coaches mistreated injured players. Klemm also received a two-year show cause penalty from the NCAA for recruiting violations in 2018.
Those factors, combined with the fact that Sarrett himself had been an internal promotion at the position after Mike Munchak left for Denver, left many skeptical that the former Patriots and Packers lineman is the right man or the job.
But the players in the Pittsburgh locker room don’t seem to share that opinion, especially the ones that have worked most closely with Klemm over the last two seasons. Former Steelers lineman Trey Essex explained that the assistant offensive line coach works most closely with the team’s young players and backups.
Among that group, the hiring of Klemm seems to be especially popular.
“Y’all don’t kno Klemm,” tackle Zach Banner wrote on Twitter. “We do. And that’s all that matters.”
Y’all don’t kno Klemm. We do. And that’s all that matters…
— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) February 2, 2021
“Best year yet,” tackle Chukwuma Okorafor wrote on Instagram. “Can’t wait.”