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Patrick Peterson coming to the Steelers wasn’t just about Mike Tomlin

The Pittsburgh Steelers defensive backs coach made an impression on the veteran CB.

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have undergone serious changes in their secondary. Gone are Arthur Maulet, Cam Sutton and Ahkello Witherspoon. In are Patrick Peterson, Chandon Sullivan, Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice Jr. With such turnover at the cornerback position, you have to wonder how it will equate to success.

The Steelers are leaning heavy on Peterson to help the younger players get acclimated, and when Peterson had the opportunity to come to Pittsburgh everyone thought the reason for his decision was because of head coach Mike Tomlin. However, Peterson had another coach he wanted to reconnect with who he’d be working closely with.

That would be none other secondary coach Grady Brown.

“Pat and I were together at the early stages (at LSU),” Brown pointed out. “I’m so happy to be with him again. Minkah Fitzpatrick, I recruited him out of high school. Didn’t sign him to South Carolina, he went to Alabama, and I always watched him from afar and I wanted to coach him then and I’m getting to coach him now.

“We’re blessed and I can’t wait to get back to it.”

For Peterson, he has fond memories of his time with Brown while at LSU. The focus to detail helped him in the early stages of his college career, and that same detail continues to the professional level for Brown.

“So Grady was my college coach at LSU.” Peterson said. “Grady coached me two years at LSU and we had an unbelievable relationship. He is actually one of the guys who helped me understand the importance on how to study, how to continue working on your craft. And he jokes about this all the time because he has been in the college level forever, but he’s still bringing those college tendencies here on a point of emphasis, on technique, point of emphasis on your eyes.”

Brown has a young and inexperienced group of cornerbacks under his study. He will not just be leaning on the help of Peterson to get Trice and Porter acclimated to the professional game, but also to help them realize how to utilize their God-given skill sets to the best of their ability.

Mainly their extraordinary size and length.

“Take away the space and don’t give it back,” Brown maintained. “From a rules standpoint the only place they let us win is on the line of scrimmage, they being the refs, they being the officiating crew. So we have to be able to take away that space and not give it back and win on the line of scrimmage.”

Peterson is like an on-field coach for the Steelers, and this young cornerback group. Peterson chose Pittsburgh as a free agent not just because of Tomlin, but also his reunion with Brown. With all these dots being connected, you can’t help but wonder if the Steelers aren’t building something special in 2023, and beyond.