Less than 24 hours later, the Steelers announced that offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett and defensive backs coach Tom Bradley would not have their contracts renewed.
“I want to thank all three of the coaches for their commitment and dedication to the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said Tomlin in a statement. “They have all played integral roles in our success and I am appreciative of their efforts. Personally, Randy and I have been in Pittsburgh since I hired him in 2007, but our relationship began well before that. He has been a friend of mine for years and wish his family nothing but the best, and I am eternally grateful for our relationship both on and off the field.”
Fichtner has been Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator for the last three years, doubling as the team’s QB coach in both 2018 and 2019. Prior to that he was the team’s quarterbacks coach from 2010-17, and the wide receivers coach from 2007-09.
The decision to let him go could have an impact on whether quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returns in 2021. Roethlisberger has long had a close relationship with Fichtner and it has been speculated that the 17-year veteran may not want to learn a new offense to come back for one last hurrah.
Shaun Sarrett and Tom Bradley
Sarrett joined the Steelers in 2012 and was an offensive assistant for six seasons, from 2012-17. In 2018 he was promoted to assistant offensive line coach and was named offensive line coach after Mike Munchak moved on to the Denver Broncos in 2019. Pittsburgh’s offensive line allowed a league-low 14 sacks this season, but the team also rushed for the fewest yards in the NFL (1,351), producing a paltry 3.6 yards per carry.
Bradley has been the team’s defensive backs coach for the past three years, coming to the team from the college football coaching ranks. Pass defense wasn’t much of a problem for the Steelers in 2020, as the team allowed the third-fewest passing yards in the NFL (3,110), with only Washington and the Los Angeles Rams faring better. Moreover, opposing quarterbacks produced a league-low 76.7 passer rating against the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s secondary also had one player named first-team All-Pro, that being free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Steelers Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler Likely to Return: Report
Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reports that the Steelers are in talks to renew the contract of defensive coordinator Keith Butler for 2021. Assuming the “details” get worked out, Butler will be returning on a year-to-year basis.
#Steelers are discussing a new contract with defensive coordinator Keith Butler, who at 64, plans to go year-to-year, per source. Some details would still have to be worked out this week but signs point to Butler's return.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) January 14, 2021
This year the Steelers set a new franchise record for most consecutive seasons with 50 or more sacks (four), producing a league-leading 56 sacks. Pittsburgh also set an NFL record for most consecutive games with at least one sack, breaking the old mark of 69 games. The previous record was held by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who set the standard between 1999 and 2003.
The Steelers will attempt to extend that record (currently at 73 games), beginning with the regular season opener in 2021.
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