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Steelers expect running backs coach to return

A fire that left Steelers assistant coach Kirby Wilson severely burned and in a medically induced coma apparently won't stop him from returning to the sideline.

Coach Mike Tomlin told the Steelers' website Monday that he expects Wilson to resume coaching the team's running backs this season. Tomlin said Wilson, badly injured in a Jan. 6 fire, is "doing great" and is ahead of schedule as far as his recovery.

Tomlin said assistant special teams coach Amos Jones will fill in for Wilson until the latter is ready to return to work. Jones helped coach running backs at the University of Cincinnati from 1999-2002, and Tomlin coached the Bearcats' secondary for two of those seasons.

"We're very comfortable with our ability to bridge the gap, at least in the short-term, in house and continue to support Kirby in his recovery," Tomlin said.

Wilson, 50, has made major strides since he narrowly escaped a grease fire that started in the kitchen of his Seven Fields townhouse. Wilson sustained burns on 45 percent of his body and also suffered major smoke inhalation.

He has been at UPMC Mercy since the fire, which broke out two days before the Steelers' 29-23 loss to Denver in an AFC Wild Card game.

"He has surprised the doctors with the rate of recovery," Tomlin said. "Obviously we still have a long way to go, but it has been just awesome to watch him through this process and see the improvement in him."

Wilson has coached the Steelers' running backs since 2007, Tomlin's first season as head coach.

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