When it was announced that former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak was considering taking a position of the same rank in another organization this offseason after his contract expired, it fueled speculation that this was a sign of trouble in the organization, that their greatest position could would want to leave because of the way the team has been run.
It was an easy set of dots to connect, after all, considering that the Steelers are the most talked about team in the NFL right now even though they didn’t make the playoffs, and when that happens it’s rarely a good thing. There’s no doubt there’s plenty of drama. But not with the offensive line.
After being widely reported that Munchak’s consideration of a job offer with the Denver Broncos was fueled by his desire to live closer to his daughter(s) and granddaughter, the 58-year-old confirmed as much earlier today as he spoke with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about what led to him reaching his decision.
“It was a family decision all the way”, he told Ed Bouchette. “This was all about family from the beginning. If my daughter lived here, I wouldn’t have taken any head coaching interviews. I’d rather be a line coach here than a head coach anywhere else, other than family”.
There are at least four teams this offseason who pursued Munchak to interview for a vacant head coaching position that we know about. The Broncos are the only team that he chose to indulge. One of his daughters and his granddaughter live in Denver. Another lives in California.
“I’m 58 and different things become important as you age”, he admitted. He even cited family as one of the reasons that he chose to sign with the Steelers following a very long tenure as a player and coach with the Houston Oilers, then the Tennessee Titans.
“Once we left Tennessee, it was all about the family thing, trying to get back to Pa., where I grew up on the other side of the state”, he told the veteran reporter. “That was the attraction, plus the tradition was awesome, the job was awesome”. Earlier today, I wrote about an alleged family member of Munchak’s who also said that his decision was based entirely on family.
In spite of the draw of living so close to his offspring, he admitted that “it was a very, very hard decision because I love it here, I love the Rooneys, the way they run the organization”. He also praised Head Coach Mike Tomlin, under who he worked for the past five seasons. “I love working for him”, he said. “I could see myself working for him until I retired”.
For parting words, he ensured the Steelers faithful that the offensive line remains in good hands with his assistant, Shaun Sarrett, saying that the linemen “really respect him”, and that “they’ll play for him. The best part with me leaving, they’re left in great hands”.