Yesterday afternoon, ESPN Insider Chris Mortensen conducted his weekly chat. I, naturally, ignored this because Mort is always wrong. If he were a weather man and predicted a bright sunny day, better pack your galoshes because there’s a monsoon on the way. That’s probably why Adam Shefter has the glamorous position of Senior NFL Insider at the four letter.
Still, some people evidently pay attention to his ramblings because yesterday it was brought to my attention he said there was a “50.5% chance” Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau would be leaving for the same job with the Arizona Cardinals after the season. Now if he had said Miami, I would’ve put some stock in it since old people and drug dealers love Florida.
LeBeau’s contract does expire after the season. So I guess Pittsburgh West can offer him a truckload of money to move to the desert. And since Arizona is like the Old Steelers Home, there would be a lot of familiar faces to work with. While there has been zero indication he has friction with Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have an interesting situation with linebackers coach Keith Butler.
Butler is a LeBeau disciple who has been tabbed as a bright young up-and-coming defensive coordinator candidate. In fact, the pitiful Cardinals, in their eternal quest to copy the Steelers in every way except winning, went after Butler for their D-coordinator job last year. Smartly, he turned them down which would inspire the conspiracy-minded Fox Mulder types out there to think he may have been given assurance he was the first in line to the throne when the 73 year old LeBeau retires. I’m not saying it’s happening but I can see where maybe the Steelers would prefer to elevate Butler to the top job rather than risk losing him.
Of course, it’s all moot since NFL.com asked LeBeau about the rumor and he said, “I promise you, if I’m coaching, it will be the Pittsburgh Steelers.” Given the emotional nature of his Hall of Fame speech this past summer where he spent more time talking about his players than talking about himself, I have no doubt his words are sincere. So the players who love the man enough to call him “Coach Dad” can rest easy knowing their guru will be back next year. And Steeler Nation can rest easy knowing the finest defensive mind in NFL history will be dialing up his patented zone blitzes for the Black and Gold next season.