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Thursday, April 5, 2012
Steelers receive surprising offseason visit

By Jamison Hensley

The Steelers received a surprising visit Wednesday, and it wasn't from a free agent or a draft prospect. This one was more special than that.

Running backs coach Kirby Wilson made his first appearance at the team's facility since he was severely burned in a fire only days before Pittsburgh's wild-card game against the Denver Broncos, according to a report in the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette.

Football is a sport that often tests people's ability to recover, whether it's from a broken bone or torn ligament. Few in this league have had to fight like Wilson.

He sustained burns on 45 percent of his body and also suffered from smoke inhalation after his house caught fire while he was sleeping on Jan. 6. The remarkable part is that he showed up at the Steelers' facility only three months after being put in a medically induced coma.

"He is attacking the rehabilitation," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said at last week's NFL owners meetings. "He is an extremely tough guy. ... We are excited about getting him back at some point."

Wilson, 50, is officially planning to come to work by the end of April, a source told ESPN's Josina Anderson on Wednesday.

He was reportedly in line to succeed Bruce Arians as offensive coordinator before the accident, but he will still play an integral role on this year's team. The Steelers are looking to replace their leading rusher for three seasons (Rashard Mendenhall had ACL surgery in January) and could use a draft pick as high as the second round on a running back like Virginia Tech's David Wilson or Boise State's Doug Martin.

According to the Post-Gazette, the Steelers greeted Wilson with cake in a team meeting room. Here's hoping he was greeted with a strong round of applause as well.