By Josh Katzowitz
We told you a couple days ago that although Steelers coach Mike Tomlin originally said he expected offensive coordinator Bruce Arians to return for the 2012 season, Arianw was thinking about retiring.
The decision has been made, and Arians has told Tomlin that he, in fact, will retire.
“Bruce Arians has informed me that he will retire from coaching,” Tomlin said in a statement released by the team. “I appreciate his efforts over the past five years as the team’s offensive coordinator and for helping lead our offense to new heights during his time with the Steelers. I am grateful to Bruce for contributing to our success and wish him nothing but the best in his retirement.”
Though he wasn't well-liked among part of the Steelers fan base -- truly, though, that's not unusual for any NFL offensive coordinator -- Arians had success in Pittsburgh, helping transform the run-heavy organization into more of a passing squad.
The unit has rarely been inside the top-10 in NFL offenses since Arian took over in 2007 (the Steelers continue to be an annual playoff team because their defense is always one of the best around), but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger trusted in Arians.
"If he were, I don't want to say 'allowed,' but his preference would be to throw the ball more, use the weapons we have and throw it," Roethlisberger said last April. "Mine's the same way.
"But we both think the same in the no-huddle, that we call a lot more runs because we know that's what we're supposed to do. And I don't know if that's 'supposed to' from the fans, the media, the owner, who knows? But it's just a feeling that you have that we better run the ball some. So we do think alike in a lot of those ways."
But Pittsburgh Post Gazette columnist Bob Smizik wrote last week that a change needed to be made. Somebody who was less buddy-buddy with Roethlisberger or more like somebody who could get the most out of him.
"They need a coach with a different mentality -- not necessarily in philosophy, but in style -- than Arians," Smizik wrote. "They need someone to come in, take over and show Roethlisberger there’s a different way, a better way to play quarterback."
So, what happens now? Obviously, there's a high-profile NFL offensive coordinator job open that will likely entice much interest around the league. While there was speculation that running backs Kirby Wilson -- who's still in critical condition after being badly burned in a house fire -- was the next in line to take over that job, Rapid Reporter Chuck Finder writes that the team most likely will look outside the organization for a replacement.
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