Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Just when the city of Pittsburgh thought their coaching staff was set for the upcoming season, another offensive assistant accepts a new job with their alma-mater.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have already replaced two assistant coaches this off-season, and now they will have another to add to the list as wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery has accepted the offensive coordinator position with his alma mater, Duke University.
Montgomery has been coaching the Steelers receivers since 2010, replacing Randy Fichtner who replaced retiring Ken Anderson, the quarterbacks coach. He spent four years coaching the Blue Devils' receivers before joining the Steelers. Montgomery also has playing experience with the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders.
Current OC Todd Haley had an opportunity to return to head coaching this off-season, when the Cardinals were interested before Arians became a possibility. Haley interviewed out of courtesy, but remained adamant about his intention to stay in Pittsburgh as a coordinator after a discouraging stint with the Kansas City Chiefs.
With no apparant promotion possibilities under his current employer, Montgomery has chosen to accept a promoted role back where he started.
The Steelers offense already had reason for concern with Mike Wallace preparing to test free-agent waters, Montgomery's exit will only increase the volume. Wallace is expected to ask a price higher than Pittsburgh can afford, but his departure could have just as much to do with dissatisfaction over the positional group's production.
The front office and ownership have given public notice to every player - nobody's job is safe. However, comments foreshadowing unexpected offensive coaching changes raised the stakes to include everyone.
These comments came after offensive line coach Sean Kugler had already accepted a head coaching job with his alma-mater UTEP, and Haley had sworn his allegience to Pittsburgh. When Arians took over in Arizona, he snatched up Steelers special teams coach Amos Jones. Kugler was replaced with John Bicknell Jr., and Jones with former Redskins assistant Danny Smith.
Perhaps Motgomery's exit came as no surprise to the Steelers, and knowing he would be leaving prompted the cryptic prophecies. However, after a season tarnished by dropped passes and fumbles, the receivers and their coach were sure to be under agressive scrutiny in the future.
Montgomery will find a fresh start with his alma-mater, in a position he had little chance of landing with his former employer, with the best chance for continuing his career progression.