Alby Oxenreiter, Sports Director for WPXI, tweets this afternoon that it is his understanding that former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley is the frontrunner for the Pittsburgh Steelers open offensive coordinator job. Since it was announced two weeks ago that Bruce Arians would not return for 2012, Haley was the only interview that has been 100% acknowledged by the Steelers website. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin also has reportedly had interest in Jim Caldwell, Alex Van Pelt and Hue Jackson as well, but if any of those interviews actually did take place, they only have fringe confirmation as of right now. Caldwell has long since been hired by the Baltimore Ravens to be their new quarterbacks coach since he reportedly met with Tomlin.
Haley, the son of former Steelers Director of Player Personnel Dick Haley, was fired by the Chiefs late last season. Before being hired by Chiefs as their head coach in 2009, Haley was the offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals under former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. The speculation remains that the interview was given to Haley and made very public as a favor in order to get his name back circulated around the league. It certainly seems that if Haley interviewed well, that the trigger would have been pulled by now in my opinion.
There is also the strong possibility that the Steelers could be waiting for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to return from Hawaii, if he hasn\’t already. Roethlisberger did not leave immediately after the Pro Bowl and the speculation is that he could be spending a long delayed honeymoon with his wife. Would Art Rooney II and Tomlin actually care what his input on the matter is though? Roethlisberger has hinted pretty clearly that he would like quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner to be promoted and prior to running backs coach Kirby Wilson being badly burned in his accident, he was highly speculated as being the heir to the offensive coordinator job. Depending on how long his rehabilitation takes, he could still be.
The longer the Steelers go without naming a new offensive coordinator, the more likely it would seem that they would promote from within. It has only been two weeks however and although it might seem like a lifetime to Steelers fans, it is not overly surprising that it could take a few more days for an announcement to be made. The NFL combine is still several weeks away and there is no rush to make that announcement just yet. Will Haley be the guy as Oxenreiter suggest he is in the lead? We shall see.