As the season winds down and Black Monday, the first after the regular season where head coaches get canned, looms near, Todd Haley’s name is getting thrown back into the spin cycle. The Los Angeles Rams have already canned Jeff Fisher and you can bet at least another two or three jobs will open up.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, as he normally does, Haley addressed the rumors and soon-to-be ones to the Pittsburgh media. Haley said he hasn’t thought about the possibility of leaving.
“It’s really not something I’m thinking about this time of year,” he told reporters via Steelers.com. “Somebody had asked me it and I said even when I did become a head coach, that year I was with Arizona, I’m not one of those guys that is preparing, putting books together, thinking about any of those things.”
He also said that at present time, he is fully committed to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I think the only right thing to do and the respect these guys and the coaches deserve is full 100 percent commitment. It’s really all I’ve ever done, even as a receiver coach getting an opportunity to move to coordinator or those type of things, my focus has always been on my job and it’ll continue to be. I love being here, best organization in football in my opinion.”
I have no doubt Haley is committed to the team…for now. But when the season ends, or when teams start calling, maybe that story will change. Head coaching jobs don’t come by very often and Haley’s end with the Kansas City Chiefs certainly wasn’t satisfactory to him.
By the time he was fired, there were reports Haley believed the front office had bugged his office and even his cell phone. His ending there wasn’t a self-realization he wasn’t cut out for the job, nor was it proof he can’t be, but that the chemistry and partnership didn’t exist.
Haley will likely be connected to some degree with the Rams’ job because he’s a bright offensive mind for a non-existent offense in need of a facelift.
The job that he could have the best chance of getting though, and to be clear, this is all my own personal speculation, is up in Buffalo. We’re at the point of it becoming a when not an if of Rex Ryan getting let go. If the Bills fall to the Cleveland Browns, that could happen as soon as Monday.
If GM Doug Whaley remains, he should have interest in Haley. Whaley was brought in by Kevin Colbert in his first year, working under him before going to Buffalo in 2010. Whaley and Haley attended Upper St. Clair High School in Pittsburgh just six years apart. And the Bills’ current offensive coordinator is Anthony Lynn, who worked with Haley in Dallas.
Those two share a remarkable bond after, and this was an insane story written about in 2011 and unearthed this past week when the two coached against each other, Lynn was struck by a drunk driver while crossing the street in 2005. Haley witnessed the entire accident and was the first to Lynn’s aid. Despite both his lungs collapsing and needing several surgeries, Lynn would return to practice barely more than a week later, and he and Haley had an unspoken bond stemming from that night.
All that is to say there are plenty of connections of Haley and what the Bills have constructed. And logically, there’d be some level of mutual interest. Enough to hire him? Enough to sway Haley away from Pittsburgh? No one knows.
But it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this as Haley’s final year in Pittsburgh.