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Dick LeBeau re­turn­ing with Ti­tans to coach against Steel­ers

The Times-Tribune - - Sports -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Dick LeBeau is more than happy to talk about the chal­lenge of de­fend­ing Ben Roeth­lis­berger and the high­pow­ered Steel­ers.

The 80-year-old coach­ing leg­end will even joke about never hav­ing been to the vis­i­tors’ locker room at Heinz Field be­fore.

The emo­tions of re­turn­ing to Pitts­burgh to coach against the Steel­ers (7-2) where he spent 16 sea­sons over two stints? Nope. “I’m try­ing not to think at all about any­thing ex­cept the Ti­tans (6-3) get­ting ready to play a big foot­ball game,” LeBeau said Tues­day.

“It’s go­ing to re­ally be a great chal­lenge for us, and we’re look­ing for­ward to it.”

Not for the Ten­nessee de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor who’s re­turn­ing to Pitts­burgh for the first time since he re­signed as Steel­ers de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor in Jan­uary 2015. That was af­ter his sec­ond stop from 2004 to 2014 where the Steel­ers won two Su­per Bowls with LeBeau as co­or­di­na­tor.

Ti­tans line­backer Brian Orakpo said he’s pretty sure this re­turn trip will be emo­tional for LeBeau.

“He won’t tell us that, and he won’t tell you guys that,” Orakpo said. “I’m pretty sure this one means a lot to him . ... We want this one for him.”

Many of the Steel­ers are look­ing for­ward to see­ing LeBeau again — per­son­ally.

Kevin But­ler re­placed LeBeau as co­or­di­na­tor and re­mains good friends with LeBeau. See­ing LeBeau on the op­po­site side­line will be awk­ward in a re­la­tion­ship so com­pet­i­tive But­ler says he makes LeBeau putt out when they play golf to­gether.

And yes, the Steel­ers still use some of what LeBeau in­stalled as co­or­di­na­tor. How much? But­ler isn’t say­ing.

“We’re top five in the league in de­fense for a long time when he was a co­or­di­na­tor, so it would be fool­ish for us not to use some of the same stuff he used,” But­ler said. “Some­times peo­ple catch up with it so you kind of have to tweak it here and there.”

Roeth­lis­berger is ex­pect­ing LeBeau to throw ev­ery­thing at him, along with some­thing the Steel­ers quar­ter­back doesn’t know. Roeth­lis­berger called LeBeau prob­a­bly one of the best de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tors and even bet­ter peo­ple he’s ever met.

“It was so much fun to be on his team and watch what he did to other quar­ter­backs,” Roeth­lis­berger said. “I don’t think it’s go­ing to be as much fun go­ing against him.”

LeBeau isn’t buy­ing into Roeth­lis­berger’s flat­tery.

“To show him some­thing he’s never seen be­fore, I think that’s an im­pos­si­bil­ity,” LeBeau said. “But we’ll try to dis­guise and try to make him read us af­ter the snap. He’s a great di­ag­nos­ti­cian. He re­ally can take a look at you and find out where you’re go­ing.”

Ea­gles

The NFL-lead­ing Ea­gles have signed for­mer New York Giants of­fen­sive line­man Will Beatty to pro­vide more depth.

Beatty started 58 games for the Giants at left tackle from 2009-2014. He re­places Tay­lor Hart, who was re­leased Tues­day.

The Ea­gles lost nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Ja­son Peters ear­lier in the sea­son. Halapouli­vaati Vaitai has started in his place.

Beatty played six games in 2016 af­ter miss­ing the 2015 sea­son with a torn pec­toral mus­cle. He’s the sec­ond vet­eran player with a Su­per Bowl ring to join Philadel­phia in two days.

The Ea­gles (8-1) signed line­backer Dan­nell Ellerbe on Mon­day. Ellerbe played for the Dol­phins and Saints and was part of the Ravens’ cham­pi­onship team in 2012.

Sea­hawks

The Seat­tle Sea­hawks have signed vet­eran cor­ner­back By­ron Maxwell to help make up for the loss of Richard Sher­man to a sea­son-end­ing Achilles ten­don in­jury.

Maxwell knows Seat­tle’s sys­tem af­ter start­ing his ca­reer with the Sea­hawks and be­com­ing a starter dur­ing the 2013 sea­son.

Maxwell signed with Philadel­phia in free agency af­ter the 2014 sea­son but lasted just one year with the Ea­gles and was traded to Mi­ami be­fore the 2015 sea­son. Maxwell lost his start­ing job in Mi­ami to rookie Cor­drea Tanker­s­ley early this sea­son and had been in­ac­tive the past four weeks prior to his re­lease.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

Ten­nessee Ti­tans de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Dick LeBeau is head­ing back to Pitts­burgh for the first time since he left the Steel­ers in 2015.

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