Legendary Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is out in Pittsburgh. The 77-year-old Pro Football Hall of Fame member isn't calling it quits, however. LeBeau explicitly said he's resigning and not retiring.
LeBeau's defenses were the strength of a Steelers franchise that won two Super Bowl championships since he was hired in 2004. Pittsburgh's defense often ranked near the top of the league in various categories during his tenure. There has been a noticeable decline in the past two seasons, however, which probably has to do with why he's gone.
After playing cornerback for the Detroit Lions from 1959-72, LeBeau started his coaching career in 1973. Funny enough, the Eagles were the first team to hire him. LeBeau served as Philadelphia's special teams coach until 1975. Could the Birds looking to reunite with the defensive mastermind?
The Eagles aren't looking for a defensive coordinator. Chip Kelly already committed to Bill Davis following the 2014 season. But as Sheil Kapadia points out, it is worth nothing Davis and LeBeau share a connection. Davis' first NFL job was as a defensive assistant in Pittsburgh from 1992-94. LeBeau served as Pittsburgh's defensive backs coach in that same span. That's where Davis got his first taste of the two-gap 3-4 defense similar to the one the Eagles employ. Perhaps Philadelphia could hire LeBeau as some sort of consultant. Hey, it's only a five hour drive across state.
While it's an opportunity certainly worth considering for the Eagles, it's probably not realistic. Jason Cole notes that LeBeau could have interest reuniting with former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians in Arizona. The Cardinals might be losing defensive coordinator Todd Bowles (formerly with the Eagles) to a head coaching vacancy somewhere in the NFL so a move out west would make sense for LeBeau.
Coaching is far from the only issue with the Eagles defense. Units such as the secondary simply lack talent. But at the very least, the Eagles should reach out and gauge LeBeau's interest.