Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak wanted to become the head coach of the Broncos. He’s instead accepting the same job in Denver that he held in Pittsburgh.
The lateral move becomes the latest sign of trouble for a Steelers team that has endured one nagging question after another in recent weeks.
A free agent, given that his contract had expired, Munchak has the ability to go wherever he wants. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that Munchak’s relocation “probably” was influenced by a desire to be closer to his daughter and granddaughter. Regardless, Munchak has chosen to leave the Steelers and to walk into a situation that could get a little awkward, given that he was a finalist for the job coach Vic Fangio filled, necessarily giving Munchak even greater juice in the organization that the next offensive coordinator will have and possibly making some of the players wonder how the pecking order will be unpacked.
The move comes not long after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made a public plea to retain Munchak.
“I pray that fans write as many letters as they can to Mr. [Art] Rooney to keep Coach Munchak around,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s such a special coach. When the linemen are happy and love to play for their coach, they play better.”
And now Mike Tomlin will have to find a new offensive line coach, at a time when Tomlin has plenty of other headaches as the offseason begins. It won’t be easy; Munchak helped transform the offensive line into one of the best in the league. If the offensive line regresses, Tomlin’s task will get a lot taller for 2019.