The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.
Question: How much longer will the Steelers still have the services of tight ends coach James Daniel?
During an offseason in which the team two saw coaches leave of their own accord, and another transition to another role, it seems only wise to pose the question of whether the reign of the longest-tenured coach on the team, tight end coach James Daniel, may swiftly be coming to an end.
The 65-year-old Daniel has been on the Steelers staff since 2004, predating the arrival of head coach Mike Tomlin in 2004. He is now the only coach on the entire coaching staff that has on-field responsibilities that he did not hire, the lone exception being John Mitchell transitioning full-time into the assistant head coach role. And that was a title that Tomlin bestowed upon him.
He has had steady employment at the NFL level dating back to 1993, spending his first four seasons working with the New York Giants’ tight ends. He moved on to work with the Atlanta Falcons from 1997 to 2003 before coming to Pittsburgh in 2004 and has remained here since then. He is the only position coach ever known by the great Heath Miller.
But it’s inevitable that he will retire at some point. Not everybody intends to be a Dick LeBeau, who will turn 81 during this upcoming season. There have already been rumors that he is thinking about retiring, and some thought that he might even retire this offseason along with wide receivers coach Richard Mann.
That was fortunately not the case, as the Steelers are already dealing with an inordinate amount of change following Mann’s retirement, Carnell Lake’s resignation, Mitchell’s transitioning away from defensive line coach, and the decision to move on from Todd Haley as offensive coordinator.
Chances are good that it won’t be much longer before he does retire, however. Perhaps as early as next offseason. Perhaps after Ben Roethlisberger retires. I hope at least for the team to entice him to stay longer by giving him a prospect to mold.