The Pittsburgh Steelers lost offensive line coach Mike Munchak to the Denver Broncos this past week and a large portion of the fan base continues to believe that the Hall of Famer is using the excuse of him wanting to move closer to his offspring as the reason for his exodus to cover up for him really just wanting to get away from the seemingly constant drama in the Steel City.
During a Friday morning interview on 93.7 The Fan, Steelers team president Art Rooney II was asked to elaborate more on Munchak recently deciding to become the new offensive line coach of the Broncos instead of keeping that same job in Pittsburgh. More specifically, Rooney was asked why the organization even let Munchak get in a situation where his contract would expire and if any attempt was made to get him signed to an extension prior to the 2018 season.
“Yeah, look, we’ve had talks with Munch [Munchak] to try and extend the contract and you know, he just preferred to do it his way,” Rooney said. “And, look, I don’t know how long he was thinking about trying to do this, but obviously it was important to him that at some point he’d get back to being in the same city as his daughter and granddaughter.
“And funny thing about it is, I had a conversation with him in December about that, that we were both lamenting the fact that our grandchildren didn’t live in the same city as we do, and maybe that was a precursor to things to come because he went out and did something about it. So, you know, we appreciate everything Munch did while he was here, he’s a great football coach and a great person and we wish them all the best.”
Rooney was quickly asked to clarify if the Steelers indeed tried to extend the contract of Munchak before the 2018 season got underway and not just after it ended a few weekends ago.
“No, we talked to him before and after,” Rooney confirmed. “So, you know, obviously he has a right to make a decision when he wants to pull the trigger on a contract.”
So, there it is and all of this with Munchak pretty much went down like I speculated it did. Munchak really wanted to get moved closer to his daughter and granddaughter after the 2018 season was over, if at all possible, and that’s why he only reportedly interviewed with the Broncos the last few weeks even though there were reportedly other teams who had head coach vacancies that wanted to interview him.
The fact that Munchak turned down an opportunity to have his contract extended prior to the start of the 2018 season starting also speaks volumes to his desire to potentially be closer to his daughter in 2019. While Munchak failed to get the head coaching job in Denver, getting offered the offensive line coaching job was the next best thing for him and thus helped accomplish his goal of being in the same city as his daughter and her family.
Munchak will indeed be missed in Pittsburgh as he’s certainly a great offensive line coach and one of the best currently in the NFL. That said, his recently named replacement, Shaun Sarrett, has spent the last five seasons being mentored by Munchak and that’s not something that should be taken lightly.
“Shaun Sarrett has been here at working under him now for a little over five years and we’re confident that Shaun can continue to work in that room and has the respect of the offensive lineman,” Rooney said on Friday.