According to Mike Garafolo, reporter for NFL Network and co-host of Good Morning Football Weekend, the Pittsburgh Steelers are hiring longtime NFL assistant Mike Sullivan as their new QB coach. Sullivan will be stepping into the role vacated by Matt Canada, who spent one year in the job before being promoted to offensive coordinator. The 54-year-old Sullivan shares the same name as the 52-year-old head coach of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, creating a potential source of confusion for sports writers and sports fans alike.
Mike Sullivan’s NFL Experience, Army Background
Mike Sullivan is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and spent most of the last year serving as the Army West Point football Director of Recruiting.
His NFL coaching career got underway in 2002 as an assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Then he served as wide receivers coach for the New York Giants from 2004-09, after which he coached Eli Manning for two seasons as quarterbacks coach. During this period, Sullivan won two Super Bowl rings with the Giants and helped Manning to Super Bowl XLVI MVP honors.
Sullivan then spent two years as offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before returning to New York, first as quarterbacks coach (2015) and then offensive coordinator (2016-17). Most recently he served as QB coach for the Denver Broncos in 2018.
Prior to entering the NFL coaching ranks Sullivan worked as an assistant at four schools in eight years, including stops at Humboldt State, Youngstown State, and Ohio, plus two separate stints with the Army Black Knights.
After graduating from West Point in 1989, Sullivan served as an infantry officer, graduating from Ranger, Airborne and Air Assault schools. He has been awarded the Expert Infantryman’s badge as well as the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. He also has a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Room in 2021
As for the makeup of Pittsburgh’s QB room, it’s partially TBD. Starter Ben Roethlisberger plans to meet with Mike Tomlin and Steelers president Art Rooney II next week to discuss ‘roster plans.’ It’s believed that Roethlisberger wants to return to the Steelers for an 18th (and likely) final NFL season, but there are issues that need to be discussed before that can happen. For one, Rooney has already indicated that the Steelers can’t have Roethlisberger back “under [his] current contract.”
Meanwhile, backup Mason Rudolph will be entering the final year of the rookie contract he signed in 2018. The Steelers also have former Washington first-round pick Dwayne Haskins signed for one year on a futures contract. Last year’s third-string QB, Josh Dobbs, is a pending unrestricted free agent. Last but not least, former practice squad/fourth-string quarterback Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges has migrated west, inking a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Rams.
The State of Mike Tomlin’s Coaching Staff
With the recent promotion of Matt Canada, not to mention the hiring of tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has filled most of the remaining spots on his staff.
The Steelers would still seem to need a secondary coach to replace Tom Bradley, as well as a new assistant offensive line coach to take the place of Adrian Klemm, who has been promoted to offensive line coach.
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