New Steelers Offensive Assistant Glenn Thomas Has Prior Relationship With Kenny Pickett

The Pittsburgh Steelers made an under-the-radar addition to their offensive staff this morning, hiring former Atlanta Falcons quarterback coach and longtime college coordinator Glenn Thomas as an offensive assistant. While Thomas hasn’t coached in the NFL since 2014, he has one key connection to the current Steelers. Quarterback Kenny Pickett originally committed to Temple University in April 2016 while Thomas was serving as the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for the Owls.

“I got to sit down with Coach [Matt] Rhule and Coach Thomas and a lot of the guys on the coaching staff many times. And that’s really what popped out to me was how easy I could talk to them and relate to them,” said Pickett in an interview with after he committed to Temple.

While Pickett eventually de-committed from the Owls and committed to Pitt, where he had a historic career with the Panthers, it’s clear that Thomas was someone who impressed him while he was going through the recruiting process.

After a visit to Temple, Pickett told 247Sports he was impressed with Thomas’ work coaching a young Matt Ryan. Thomas came into the league as an offensive assistant in Ryan’s rookie year in 2008.

“The Temple visit went great,” Pickett said. “I really enjoyed touring the facilities and speaking to the coaches. [Offensive coordinator Glenn] Thomas talked about the offense with me and my parents, about his time in the League coaching Matt Ryan, schemes and quarterback development. We all came away very impressed.”

Adding someone to the offense who has familiarity with Pickett is smart. While Pickett obviously isn’t the same person or player he was as a 17- or 18-year-old, having a sense of who a person is and knowing what they can bring to the table is huge as a coach and as a player. The Steelers could’ve made a “splashier” hire and tried to bring in someone like Byron Leftwich. But adding someone who’s coached in college and the NFL and has ties to Pickett is a pretty good move by Mike Tomlin and the Steelers organization.

It gives Pickett someone else he can trust outside of quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan and offensive coordinator Matt Canada and brings in a coach who knows Pickett’s skillset and likely has a good base of knowledge about him as a player and a person. In addition, it’s just good to have another voice in the offensive coaches’ room, especially with a guy who has a history of working with young quarterbacks both at the college and pro levels. Hopefully, the addition of Thomas can help Pickett take that next step in his NFL career as he heads into Year 2 and beyond.

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