Dick LeBeau is leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers, the legendary defensive coordinator told his hometown newspaper today. And the Hall of Famer made it clear that he's still up for coaching—just not with the Steelers—telling the Daily Citizen that it was a "mutual parting" and "time to make a break."
"I'm resigning this position, not retiring," LeBeau, 77, said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Citizen. "I had a great run in Pittsburgh. I'm grateful for all the things that have happened to me and thankful for all the support I had in Pittsburgh."
If you're a Steelers fan, there's really only one way to digest this news: WHAT THE FUCK?!?
For more than two decades, LeBeau has been as synonymous with the Steelers as Big Ben, the Terrible Towel, and the Steel Curtain Defense. He joined the team in 1992 and worked his way up to defensive coordinator before leaving for the Cincinnati Bengals in 1997. He rose up to become Cincinnati's head coach, but that only lasted two seasons before he was fired in 2002. By 2004, he was back with the Steelers as defensive coordinator and at times it honestly felt like LeBeau was just gonna coach that Steelers defense until he died.
Just a few years ago, before the Steelers played the Packers in the Super Bowl, he said, "I promise you, if I'm coaching, it will be the Pittsburgh Steelers." Pittsburgh players were never shy about their support for the man credited with inventing the zone blitz and lobbied for him to get into the Hall of Fame by wearing his jersey before a preseason game in Canton. When LeBeau did get in, players took a day off from training camp in 2010 for his induction.
Are there valid critiques to be made of LeBeau's recent defensive squads? Sure. But that's for another time. Right now, the Ravens are still in the playoffs while Pittsburgh is at home with its beloved defensive coordinator walking out the door, which is perhaps all you need to know about the state of the Steelers.
Image via Associated Press