The Pittsburgh Steelers have the NFL’s top-ranked defense and the man in charge of that side of the football is Pro Football Hall of Fame player, Dick LeBeau.
LeBeau, who has become known as the man responsible for the team’s zone blitz, is in his second coaching stint with the Steelers, which started eight seasons ago. In that time, he has guided the defense under both Mike Tomlin and former coach, Bill Cowher.
With the successes, Pro Bowl players, AFC North Division championships and Super Bowl appearances on his resume, LeBeau has the respect and attention of the Cleveland Browns’ coaching staff.
“He’s doing it at a high level; he was an outstanding player and I would imagine the people in the Steelers’ building hope he does it for a long, long time because he’s so good,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said of the 75-year old LeBeau. “I’ve got a great deal of respect for him.
“I got to hear some stories, he and Dick Jauron are friendly. I’ve interacted with some guys who have coached with the Steelers. (Browns quarterbacks coach) Mark Whipple was there, so although I don’t know Dick LeBeau all that well, I’ve gained an appreciation for what he is as a coach and a person. I hope I’m coaching at that age because this is a profession for me, but it is also my hobby and my pastime and it is something that I love to do.”
Dating back to his time as a defensive back with the Detroit Lions, Jauron has had a friendship with LeBeau. Over the final two seasons of his career (1980-81), Jauron played for LeBeau with the Cincinnati Bengals.
“The defensive players obviously thought the world of him,” Jauron recalled. “We played, at least this is what I believe happened, we played in Philadelphia that year. Coach LeBeau was coaching their special teams. I believe that was his job at that time. The guys introduced us before that game and then, I got to play for him in Cincinnati.”
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