Nearly three months before the start of an NFL free agency period is a day known throughout the league as Black Monday, which is the start of a different kind of shopping season. Black Monday is when disgruntled and disappointed teams start to fire coaches. It becomes a shopping season for coaches, and the Steelers did very well for themselves this year.
Shortly after the Tennessee Titans fired their head coach, Mike Munchak, the Steelers added him to their staff and the move will provide their young offensive linemen with the opportunity to learn their craft from a man who is a Hall of Fame player himself.
"Munch is a credibility guy, both as a player and a coach," said Coach Mike Tomlin from the NFL Owners' Meetings in Orlando. "I am excited about what he brings to us. He's a football junkie. He's a guy who is fired up about football and the offensive line. I just look forward to watching him work with the young men he has been assigned to work with."
Those "young" men include Maurkice Pouncey (25 in July), David DeCastro (24 last January), Kelvin Beachum (25 in June), Marcus Gilbert (26 last month), and Mike Adams (24 a couple of weeks ago). Expect Munchak also to have an impact on the older guys in the group, including Ramon Foster (28), Cody Wallace (30 in November), and Guy Whimper (31 in May).
At a spot in the calendar when many NFL teams are desperately looking for depth along the offensive line, the Steelers have eight players with starting experience under contract.
"Obviously, I'm excited about acquiring a guy like Mike," said Tomlin. "Again, when you think of Munch, you think of credibility, both as a player and as a coach, and from my perspective, as a coach who has competed against him for a number of years, he's a guy who always has his guys prepared. Having worked with him over the past few months, he's a guy who has positive energy as it relates to the game, and I just look forward to us benefitting from that."
The addition of Munchak gives Tomlin a staff of assistants that include three former NFL head coaches – Munchak, Dick LeBeau (Cincinnati Bengals), and Todd Haley (pictured above, Kansas City Chiefs). No other team can make that claim.
"Maybe ex-head coaches are good coaches, I don't know," said Tomlin. "We'll see how that works out. Hopefully, I'm not one of them. (Laughs)
"I really don't even think about (them being former head coaches). It's not something that I set out to do. I think when given an opportunity to fill a position, you just look at the credible men and they happen to be ex-head coaches in some instances and that's just part of it. I think maybe we get head coaching opportunities because we're good at what we do. Me, by nature, I'm a secondary coach. Obviously, I wear a different hat in Pittsburgh, but it's my vocation, it's something that's put me in this position to do what it is I do today. I think the same thing could be said for a guy like Munch as it relates to the offensive line."