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Old 01-21-2011, 12:25 AM   #1
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Default Steelers: Questions for Dick LeBeau

Steelers: Questions for Dick LeBeau
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times

Friday January 21, 2011 12:02 AM

The 73-year-old defensive coordinator speaks out as the Steelers continue preparations for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Jets:

Q: How much longer will you coach?

A: I have a standard retort to that. Hell, I am not even the oldest coach in the state of Pennsylvania. There’s a guy up there at Penn State that’s 10 years older than me. I feel like the baby. First of all, someone has to want you to coach. We have been blessed from that standpoint. We'll see how that goes. I don’t think these guys had too bad of a year defensively. We still have some defense to play. If somebody wants me to work, I think maybe we can still get them in-and-out of the huddle a couple times. But I am not looking too far down the road. As a friend once said, ‘We’re not buying any green bananas, baby.’

Q: Can you talk about the relationship you have with your defensive players?

A: “I know that I have got some really good players. I coach and they play. They make me look like a pretty good coach sometimes.”

Q: How special was it to have all the Steelers players with you at your induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony last summer?

A: They are the best PR department I’ve got. They got me in. It was great. It’s very humbling to be honest with you. It’s the type of thing that makes you think you’ve made the right career choice at least when the guys you are working with can treat you like that. It’s a very special thing and it’s a lifetime memory. It’s something I will never forget.

Q: What’s your take on the Steelers leading the NFL in rushing defense?

A: Somebody said this (62.8 yards per game) was the best rushing defense number in the history of this franchise. We’re going to be happy with that. I think they had some pretty good defenses here in the 1970s. But to put up the numbers like our guys did in a 16-game season, they had to play darn-good run defense. (The Jets) are one of the best rushing teams in the league, so we are going to have to play very well to hold them down running the ball.

Q: Are you amazed that the Steelers keep playing so well defensively for all these years?

A: Our front office has done a great job with coach (Mike) Tomlin drafting to fit what we do. That goes right back to Kevin Greene and Greg Lloyd and those guys. And of course, the defenses of the ‘70s and those linebackers, they are all in the Hall of Fame. I think some of these others will end up in there also. Sometimes that is handed down really from one generation of players to another. I definitely think this group of defenders has been affected by earlier groups by how hard they play and how they run to the ball. That’s just Steelers’ football. Really it’s reflecting back to the guys that played here before these guys.

_ Compiled by Mike Bires
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