PITTSBURGH — Calling it a “mutual parting,” Pro Football Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau told the Urbana Daily Citizen on Saturday that he is resigning as defensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I’m resigning this position, not retiring,” LeBeau, 77, said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Citizen. “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.”
During his tenure with the Steelers over the last 11 years, the team won two Super Bowls and his defenses were usually ranked among the best in the league.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said.
The Steelers went 11-5 and won the AFC North title this season, but injuries to key players and inexperience at several positions hampered the defense and led to speculation about LeBeau’s future with the team.
“It’s just time to make a break,” he said.
LeBeau, a London, Ohio, native, played collegiately at Ohio State and was a member of OSU’s 1957 national championship team.
He went on to have a Hall of Fame career as a defensive back with the Detroit Lions from 1959-72.
LeBeau has been an assistant or head coach in the NFL since 1973.
He was on the Cincinnati Bengals’ coaching staff during two Super Bowl seasons in the 1980s and was the head coach of the Bengals from 2000-2002.
LeBeau had two tenures as Steelers’ defensive coordinator – from 1995-96 and the most recent, which began in 2004 and included victories in Super Bowls XL and XLIII.
LeBeau, known as the architect of the modern zone blitz defensive scheme, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.