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Insider Only NFL: Larry Zierlein’s return in doubt

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was at the Pittsburgh Steelers South Side facility for the third straight day since the Steelers season finale, going through another normal work day.
Arians has not been informed of any firing and will not learn his fate until he meets with Mike Tomlin that could come as early as today. A decision either way has not been made. Many still expect Arians to return and indications are Tomlin wants Arians to return.
Star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger continues to express his desire for Arians to return.
Meanwhile, special teams coach Bob Ligashesky, assistant special teams coach Amos Jones, offensive line coach Larry Zierlein and Defensive Backs coach Ray Horton have not been informed to this point that they will be retained, which continues to fuel speculation that any of the 5 coaches could be relieved of their duties.
However, team sources continue to indicate wholesale changes will not be made and only expect 1 or 2 coaching changes at the most and one source even said don’t be surprised if no changes are made.
One coach whose return appears to be in doubt is offensive line coach Larry Zierlein. Speculation coming from players who met with Zierlein on Monday is that he will not be returning. Zierlein just finished his 3rd season with the Steelers and is expected to be fired this week.
A surprsing rumor going around the facility is that

Bob Ligashesky is still under consideration to return for a 4th season. Tomlin is close to Ligashesky which could give Ligashesky another season after having the No. 1 ranked special teams unit in 2008.
In 2009, the Steelers had a number of special teams woes and gave up four kickoff returns for touchdowns and they also were last in the NFL in opponents starting field position (31.3) following a kickoff.
Notes: wide receivers Coach Randy Fichtner, running backs coach Kirby Wilson, linebackers coach Keith Butler and tight ends coach James Daniel have been informed that they will be retained.
Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau will return for at least one more season, while assistant head Coach/Defensive Line coach John Mitchell will return.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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