Pittsburgh Steelers are set for an offseason of major changes. It has been reported that veteran stars Troy Polamalu and James Harrison could retire from the NFL, and it's quite likely that defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau may also be shown the door.
LeBeau is an NFL legend both on and off the field. He has been a full-time player or coach for the past 56 seasons and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame after his induction in 2010.
In recent seasons, the thought of LeBeau retiring from the Steelers and from the NFL has been laughed off, most notably by head coach Mike Tomlin.
Steelers could force LeBeau out
But this week, following the Steelers' playoff defeat to bitter rivals Baltimore Ravens, both Tomlin and LeBeau have been "unusually testy" about the subject, with some speculating that the Steelers could be likely to scale back LeBeau's role.
"Again, I haven't talked to Dick," Tomlin told the press after the Steelers' loss. "I'm not going to get to all of that. For the many reasons I've already outlined."
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Testing times for the NFL legend
Ron Cook, who writes for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, remarked that LeBeau was "unusually testy" when asked by reporters last month whether he wanted to return next season.
And LeBeau is not the only one who is uncomfortable at the Steelers right now, with head coach Mike Tomlin under serious pressure after another ultimately disappointing season. While NFL.com writer Marc Sessler says Tomlin should be safe, he added on Tuesday that LeBeau is likely to be told that his responsibilities will be scaled back considerably.
"Tomlin appears safe, but the vibe around LeBeau is entirely different. We wouldn't be shocked to see Pittsburgh make a move here, even toward a shift in responsibilities that would keep the trusted lieutenant around as a consultant," Sessler added.