Randy Fichtner

Steelers Drop OC Randy Fichtner

On Thursday morning the team announced that offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner will not have his contract renewed. The same goes for offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett and defensive backs coach Tom Bradley

I want to thank all three of the coaches for their commitment and dedication to the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said head coach Mike Tomlin in a statement. “They have all played integral roles in our success and I am appreciative of their efforts. Personally, Randy and I have been in Pittsburgh since I hired him in 2007, but our relationship began well before that. He has been a friend of mine for years and wish his family nothing but the best, and I am eternally grateful for our relationship both on and off the field.”

Fichtner worked his way up the Steelers’ ranks to serve as the team’s OC for the last three seasons. Things went well enough in his first year as Todd Haley‘s replacement, but the wheels came off in 2019 and 2020.The Steelers finished last in the NFL this year with 1,351 rushing yards. The previous season wasn’t much better — they placed 29th in 2019 with 1,447 yards.

Meanwhile, Fichtner and Ben Roethlisberger seemed to have a falling out. The Steelers waited a bit to make it official, but Fichtner’s dismissal doesn’t come as a huge surprise.

Steelers Promote Randy Fichtner To OC

The Steelers have promoted quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner to offensive coordinator. The news was first reported by Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Randy Fichtner (vertical)

[RELATED: Ben Roethlisberger To Play 3 More Years?]

This was the anticipated outcome after the team allowed Todd Haley‘s contract to expire. Fichtner has a good working relationship with Ben Roethlisberger and the same could not be said for Big Ben and Haley. Given the rumblings of serious discord between the QB and Haley, it wouldn’t be surprising if Roethlisberger played a hand in the coaching switch.

Fichtner, 54, spent his career in the college ranks from 1986-2006. In 2007, he joined the Steelers as their wide receivers coach. In 2010, he was re-assigned as the QBs coach and held down that job for eight seasons. With a total of eleven years working alongside Mike Tomlin, Fichtner is well-versed in the Steelers’ way of doing things.

Former Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson was also said to be in the mix for the job.

AFC Notes: Steelers, Haley, Dolphins

Here’s a look at the AFC:

  • Quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner is considered the favorite to take over for Todd Haley as the Steelers‘ new offensive coordinator, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. Rapoport notes that Fichtner is close with offensive line coach Mike Munchak as well as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, which could give him the leg up. However, no decision has been made yet.
  • Kirby Wilson, the Steelers‘ running backs coach under Mike Tomlin during his first seven seasons with Pittsburgh, is another candidate to replace Haley as OC, Ed Bouchette of the Post Gazette (on Twitter) hears. Interestingly, Munchak’s name has not come up as a OC candidate yet, even though he declined a second interview with the Cardinals on Wednesday.
  • Former Denver assistant head coach/running backs Eric Studesville is headed to the Dolphins as running backs coach/run game coordinator (Twitter link via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com). Studesville has ties to Dolphins head coach Adam Gase since both men were on the Broncos’ staff together both under Josh McDaniels and John Fox.

Ben Roethlisberger To Play 3 More Years?

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has privately told teammates that he wants to play for at least three more seasons, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.Ben Roethlisberger (vertical)

The 35-year-old Roethlisberger indicated following Sunday’s Divisional Round loss that he plans to return for the 2018 season, an important disclosure given that he reportedly mulled retirement prior to the 2017 campaign. Coming off a season which was largely in line with his career norms (64.2% completion rate, 28 touchdowns, 92.4 quarterback rating), Roethlisberger sounds as though he’s eager to continue his career through at least next year, and potentially beyond. He’s under contract through 2019, with cap charges of $23.2MM in each season.

Roethlisberger’s relationship with offensive coordinator Todd Haley has reportedly been the source of some strain, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported Sunday that the rapport between the two Steelers “in in as bad of a place as it’s been in years.” Haley’s contract is now expired, per Bouchette, and it’s unclear if he’ll return to Pittsburgh in 2018 after failing to “build support among key players” on the club’s offense. If Haley leaves the Steelers, quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner would represent a “strong candidate” to become the team’s next offensive coordinator.

Appearing on his local radio show on CBS Pittsburgh this morning, Roethlisberger seemed to refute any concerns regarding Haley. “There’s always issues in a competitive field,” said Roethlisberger, noting that the reported rift is “perceived as a bigger deal” than reality might warrant (Twitter links via Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com). “You might butt heads at times, it doesn’t mean you have any personal problems.”