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Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Steelers' LeBeau not thinking about future

By Jamison Hensley

PITTSBURGH -- There are questions every year about whether Dick LeBeau will retire as the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator. And, every year, he returns to direct one of the top defenses in the NFL.

Asked about his future at the Steelers' mandatory minicamp Wednesday, the 75-year-old LeBeau was noncommittal, saying, "I don't think, because of the situation I'm in, it would be very productive to think about it. I go one day at a time really and one year at a time and feel blessed that I'm still in the game and surrounded with young people that are working hard. I don't worry too much about the future. Some of us don't have as much future as some of the others."

The speculation of LeBeau retiring has increased since January 2012, when linebackers coach Keith Butler turned down the opportunity to become the Indianapolis Colts' defensive coordinator. Butler is considered the coordinator-in-waiting because of his experience with the Steelers and knowledge of their 3-4 defense.

Under LeBeau, the Steelers have consistently ranked among the best defenses in the league. Over the past five seasons, the Steelers have finished No. 1 in fewest yards allowed and fewest points allowed three times. Last season, Pittsburgh allowed 275.8 yards per game, which was 15 yards per game fewer than any other defense in the NFL.

Some suggest the Steelers haven't been the most dominating defense. Pittsburgh has struggled to generate consistent pressure on the quarterback as well as turnovers the past two years.

Still, linebacker LaMarr Woodley doesn't think he will see LeBeau retire during his playing days.

"It's like Paterno at Penn State," Woodley said.

What Woodley admires most about LeBeau is his knowledge of the game.

"Not only from his playing experience from all of those years and all of those years from being a coach, he's speaking from both sides," Woodley said. "The thing I like about him is when he makes a play call, he does it off top of his head. He doesn't actually look at his sheet and do it."