Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley hasn't talked about playing his former team yet. Not to reporters. Not to his players.
But Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger senses Haley has extra motivation heading into this game. On Monday night, the Steelers play host to the Chiefs, who fired Haley as their head coach on Dec. 12, 2011.
“He wants to win every game, as we all do,” Roethlisberger told Kansas City reporters in a conference call Wednesday. “But without him saying it, you can see it … anytime you’ve got a guy on your team who used to play for another team, there’s always a little incentive that you want to win for that guy.
Roethlisberger added, “We haven’t practiced yet, but throughout meetings and stuff, you can kind of see it a little bit. I don’t think he’s admitted it yet.”
No coach wants to be fired, but Haley is in a more stable position right now. Despite some criticism over his "dink and dunk" offense, Haley has been credited for bringing back the run game to the Steelers (5-3), who have won three straight to get back into the playoff picture. The Chiefs have lost eight of 11 games since parting ways with Haley and could be cleaning house this offseason with a new general manager and head coach.
Like he usually does, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin downplayed the reunion of Haley and the Chiefs.
“It’s not Todd versus the Chiefs, and I think Todd understands that,” Tomlin said. “He’s been in this business a long time. We’ve got a job to do this weekend.”