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Steelers' roots run deep within Titans' organization

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The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans have had some legendary battles since the Titans moved to Tennessee, and they share more than just the competitive aspect on the playing field. Pittsburgh roots run deep in Nashville.

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Let's be honest. When a team has seen the amount of success in the past two decades that the Pittsburgh Steelers have experienced, coaches and players become hot commodities on the open market. It's really no shock to anyone that follows the team that Pittsburgh roots extend to almost every NFL franchise.

Within the Tennessee Titans organization, those roots might run deeper than most.

Ken Whisenhunt, the former offensive coordinator and once a candidate to take over as head coach of the Steelers when Bill Cowher retired, is now the head coach of the Titans. Whisenhunt is plenty used to playing against his former employer, and he lost to them on the biggest stage in Super Bowl 43 when he was head coach for the Arizona Cardinals.

When Whisenhunt was hired in Nashville and he brought on Ray Horton as defensive coordinator. Horton was the former Assistant Coach and defensive-backs coach of the Steelers before going to Arizona with Whisenhunt. After a brief stint with the Cleveland Browns, Horton has now reunited with Whisenhunt in Tennssee to call the defensive plays.

Outside of the coaching staff, the Titans were the team that won the bidding war for backup defensive lineman Al Woods in free-agency. The Steelers wanted to retain Woods but the Titans gave him an offer the Steelers simply couldn't justify matching. Woods has provided depth along the Titans' defensive front, but he has only started one game this season with 17 combined tackles and no sacks.

Nate Washington, the now-veteran wide receiver, started his career with the Steelers before the Titans lured him away via free-agency. Washington has had a productive career in Nashville, but playing with a myriad of average-to-below-average quarterbacks has certainly hindered his production. In 2014, Washington has caught 19 passes for 267 yards and hasn't hit paydirt yet this season.

The Titans have even signed Derek Moye to their practice squad and added Richard Gordon, the former Steelers' tight end, to their roster.

These two teams have a history that not only dates back to the AFC-Central days, but a history within the organization with coaches and players that makes this matchup even more intriguing heading into Monday night.

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