Dick LeBeau, the architect of the defenses that were the driving force behind the Pittsburgh Steelers’ three Super Bowl appearances from 2005 to ’10, won’t return to the team in 2015.
LeBeau, 77, told the Urbana Daily Citizen of Ohio that he has resigned as the team’s defensive coordinator. A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, LeBeau has spent 56 seasons in the NFL as a player and a coach and the last 11 leading the Steelers’ D.
“I’m resigning this position, not retiring,” LeBeau told the newspaper. “I had a great run in Pittsburgh. I’m grateful for all the things that have happened to me and thankful for all the support I had in Pittsburgh.”
The Steelers confirmed LeBeau’s resignation later Saturday.
“We want to thank Dick for his many years of service with the team and all that he has done for this organization,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “His coaching helped lead us to many successful seasons and championships. We are very appreciative of his efforts, and we wish him well.”
A source close to LeBeau told ESPN.com that LeBeau is “OK” with leaving the Steelers and “ready for what happens next” but that he wanted to return in 2015.
Linebackers coach Keith Butler is expected to succeed LeBeau after garnering interest as a defensive coordinator around the NFL in recent years but deciding to stay in Pittsburgh.
Beloved by his players and hailed as an innovator with the zone blitz scheme he developed to counter run-and-shoot offenses in the 1990s, LeBeau spent two stints as the Steelers’ defensive coordinator.
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