Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Munchak as Steeler: Odd for Oilers/Titans
By Paul Kuharsky
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A guy changing cities and logos ceased to be a big deal a long time ago in professional sports.
Which makes a guy like Mike Munchak unique.
For 31 years as a player and coach, he’s worn blue and white, an oil derrick and a fireball T. Fired after three years as head coach of the Tennessee Titans, he was on the market for the first time since he was a first-round choice by the Houston Oilers when he was coming out of Penn State.
Now Munchak is becoming a member of the Steelers’ coaching staff. Soon, the Scranton, Penn., native will be wearing black and gold and Pittsburgh’s steelmark.
Munchak interviewed for three head coaching posts -- with his alma mater Penn State and in Detroit and Cleveland. Penn State hired James Franklin, the Lions hired Jim Caldwell and the Browns remain open. Munchak also interviewed for the offensive line post with the Houston Texans, and presumably had an offer to join Bill O’Brien’s staff but chose Mike Tomlin and the Steelers.
Pittsburgh gets itself a Pro Football Hall of Famer, a solid citizen and a quality line coach who should help enhance protection for Ben Roethlisberger and create run room for Le’Veon Bell.
The Titans didn’t get great line play during Munchak’s three years in charge.
But for a long stretch before that he was one of the NFL’s best line coaches. He developed mid- and late-round picks into productive players. That list included David Stewart, Jacob Bell, Justin Hartwig, Zach Piller, Benji Olson and Kevin Long.
In 2005, when the Titans were ready to dedicate a high pick to the tackle spot, he helped identify second-rounder Michael Roos, who has had a very solid career protecting the blind side of Titans quarterbacks.
The move means Munchak will be relocating to the Pittsburgh area. But he’ll be back before too long. The Titans host the Steelers in 2014.