The Pittsburgh Steelers have been in the market for a new offensive line coach since firing Shaun Sarrett in mid-January. Yet the search—which has included Hank Fraley and former Chargers and Packers offensive line coach James Campen—has not yielded a hire, with Fraley electing to remain with the Detroit Lions.
On Monday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle indicated that the Steelers also requested an interview with Houston Texans offensive line coach Mike Devlin. Yet the interview never happened.
It’s not clear whether Devlin declined to interview with the Steelers or whether the Texans refused Pittsburgh’s request. But Wilson indicates that Devlin is interviewing for the New York Giants offensive line coach job, so it’s possible Devlin just isn’t that into the idea of coming to a team with the worst running game in the NFL, one that produced just 1,351 rushing yards in 2020.
Certainly it would appear that offensive line and running back are two of Pittsburgh’s greatest needs in the 2021 NFL Draft, especially with starting running back James Conner and starting left tackle Alejandro Villanueva pending unrestricted free agents who are unlikely to return.
Mike Devlin’s NFL Career, Coaching Experience
Mike Devlin, 51, is a former fifth-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills (1993) who was an All-American at the University of Iowa and a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy (awarded to college football’s best interior offensive lineman) in 1992.
He was a reserve lineman for the Bills for three years before serving as the starting center for the Arizona Cardinals for two seasons. After that he managed to hang on for two more years in a backup role. All in all, he played in 101 NFL games with 27 starts.
Devlin went on to begin his coaching career as the offensive quality control coach for the Cardinals (2000), before being promoted to assistant offensive line coach in 2001. He moved on to the New York Jets after laboring for two years as the offensive line coach at the University of Toledo, then spent nine seasons (2006-14) coaching New York’s offensive line and tight ends.
He has been with the Texans for the past six years, but with Houston’s head-coaching change—not to mention Houston’s recent lack of success in offensive-line related statistical categories—Devlin is in search of a new job.
Houston had the second-fewest rushing yards in the NFL in 2020 (1,466, as compared to Pittsburgh’s league-worst 1,351). The Texans also allowed 50 sacks in 2020, tied for second-worst in the NFL.
Steelers Coaching Moves to Date
As for the coaching changes the Steelers have made in 2021, those include promoting quarterbacks coach Matt Canada to offensive coordinator and hiring Alfredo Roberts to replace recently retired tight ends coach James Daniel.
The Steelers still need a new quarterbacks coach to replace Canada and a new secondary coach to replace Tom Bradley, who was let go along with former offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner and the aforementioned Sarrett.
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