The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.
This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others.
Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor is heading into free agency, as is Trai Turner.
These are the sorts of topics among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: What is Jerry Olsavsky’s status, and will his role change in the wake of Brian Flores’ hiring?
Jerry Olsavsky played inside linebacker for the Steelers for a decade. He has now been on their coaching staff for more than a decade, and is entering his eighth year with the title of inside linebackers coach, now one of the longest-tenured members of the staff.
Olsavsky suffered the death of his wife in October of last year and spent some time away from the team during that time, for obvious reasons. It is unclear whether or not he ever returned to the team in-season; at least it was never formally addressed by the team, but he may have been spotted on the sidelines.
As you know, the Steelers recently hired former Miami Dolphins head coach and New England Patriots linebackers coach (among many other hats) Brian Flores, whose official title is Senior Defensive Assistant/Linebackers.
After Pittsburgh divided up the linebacker coaching duties in 2015 following Keith Butler’s promotion to defensive coordinator, they never replaced Joey Porter as outside linebackers coach when his contract was not renewed in 2019. Since then, Butler and defensive line back Karl Dunbar—as well as defensive assistant Denzel Martin—had been working with the group.
At the same time, they did have Teryl Austin as Senior Defensive Assistant/Secondary while also employing a defensive backs coach, most recently with Grady Brown. Still, given what happened last year and the recent hiring of Flores and retirement of Butler, it’s fair to at least ask the question.
We had no idea that the team wasn’t renewing Ike Hilliard’s contract as wide receivers coach until they hired his replacement, after all. And we don’t know what Olsavsky’s contract status is. But given that he’s still listed as inside linebackers coach on the team site, there is no reason to think he won’t be retaining the same role he’s held since 2015.