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Dick LeBeau returning with Titans to teach in opposition to Steelers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Dick LeBeau is more than pleased to speak concerning the problem of defending Ben Roethlisberger and the high-powered Steelers.

The 80-year-old teaching legend will even joke about by no means having been to the guests’ locker room at Heinz Field earlier than.

The feelings of returning to Pittsburgh to teach in opposition to the Steelers (7-2) the place he spent 16 seasons over two stints?

Nope.

“I’m trying not to think at all about anything except the Titans getting ready to play a big football game,” LeBeau mentioned Tuesday.

“I think both teams have won four in a row. It’s going to really be a great challenge for us, and we’re looking forward to it.”

Not for the Tennessee defensive coordinator who’s returning to Pittsburgh for the primary time since he resigned as Steelers defensive coordinator in January 2015. That was after his second cease from 2004 to 2014 the place the Steelers received two Super Bowls with LeBeau as coordinator.

Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo mentioned he’s fairly certain this return journey will likely be emotional for LeBeau.

“He won’t tell us that, and he won’t tell you guys that,” Orakpo mentioned. “I’m pretty sure this one means a lot to him. I think it’s his first time playing there since he’s been gone … We want this one for him.”

Many of the Steelers are wanting ahead to seeing LeBeau once more — personally.

“He’s not the type of guy you want to see in a headset on the other sideline,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin mentioned.

“In the midst of their four-game run, it is quintessential run. They are taking the ball away. They are minimizing the run game. They are making the explosion and splash plays that is a signature of his ball. That is a significant reason why they are 6-3 and division leaders.”

Kevin Butler changed LeBeau as coordinator and stays good pals with LeBeau. Butler famous the Steelers thought they may see the Titans within the playoffs final season besides the Titans didn’t qualify.

Seeing LeBeau on the alternative sideline will likely be awkward in a relationship so aggressive Butler says he makes LeBeau putt out once they play golf collectively.

And sure, the Steelers nonetheless use a few of what LeBeau put in as coordinator. How a lot? Butler isn’t saying.

“We’d be fools not to do what we did before we were successful,” Butler mentioned. “We’re top five in the league in defense for a long time when he was a coordinator, so it would be foolish for us not to use some of the same stuff he used. Sometimes people catch up with it so you kind of have to tweak it here and there.”

Roethlisberger is anticipating LeBeau to throw all the pieces at him, together with one thing the Steelers quarterback doesn’t know. Roethlisberger known as LeBeau most likely probably the greatest defensive coordinators and even higher folks he’s ever met.

“It was so much fun to be on his team and watch what he did to other quarterbacks,” Roethlisberger mentioned. “I don’t think it’s going to be as much fun going against him.”

LeBeau isn’t shopping for into Roethlisberger’s flattery.

“To show him something he’s never seen before, I think that’s an impossibility,” LeBeau mentioned. “But we’ll try to disguise and try to make him read us after the snap. He’s a great diagnostician. He really can take a look at you and find out where you’re going, and it’s part of the reason he’s been so successful.”

Of course, LeBeau hasn’t modified a lot of how he calls a protection in Tennessee. Titans coach Mike Mularkey says LeBeau is fairly assured in what he’s doing, particularly after the success he’s had in his profession.

“There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel,” Mularkey mentioned.

NOTES: Only QB Marcus Mariota (ankle), TE Delanie Walker (forearm) and LG Quinton Spain (toe) had been on the damage report Tuesday, and all three practiced. Spain is anticipated again Thursday evening after lacking two straight video games.

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AP Sports Writer Will Graves and freelance author Dan Scifo in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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