Everest calls firing by Steelers a 'shocker'
By Alan Robinson
Published: Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, 2:32 p.m.
Former Steelers special teams coordinator Al Everest said his firing “was a shocker” but declined Friday to discuss why he and the team parted ways with only two preseason games remaining.
Everest was abruptly fired by coach Mike Tomlin following practice Thursday, the Steelers' last such on-field work before the preseason game in Buffalo on Saturday. Everest, who had been in his job since January 2010, was replaced by his assistant, Amos Jones.
“It was professional differences, and let's leave it at that,” Everest told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Friday.
But he added, “It was a shocker.”
Everest still was coming to grips with the firing Friday, following an evening spent mostly calling relatives, friends and NFL acquaintances. He plans to stay in coaching but said it was too early to think about where he might coach next.
Everest politely declined to discuss his departure in detail but said it had nothing to do with the decision to take Pro Bowl returner Antonio Brown off the kickoff and punt return teams. Brown, a starting receiver, recently signed a $42.5 million contract extension.
Brown upgraded the return units last season, averaging 10.8 yards on punt returns and 27.3 yards on kickoffs. But the Steelers apparently do not want to risk losing one of Ben Roethlisberger's prime targets to a special teams injury.
Tomlin did not discuss the firing with reporters. The Steelers announced it in a news release late Thursday afternoon after the players had left.
Jones, a former Alabama player under coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, was already on Tomlin's staff when former special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky was fired and replaced by Everest, a former special teams coordinator with the 49ers and Saints. Jones handled much of the on-field special teams coaching during training camp.
Everest had been fired by the 49ers only days before the Steelers hired him after the 2009 season. He was about to begin his 16th NFL season.
The Steelers finished ninth in the NFL last season in kickoff returns (25.1-yard average) and 13th in punt returns (10.5-yard average). They did not allow a touchdown on a kickoff or punt return during the regular season.
The Steelers' special teams were rated ninth overall among the 32 NFL teams in footballoutsiders.com's detailed analysis of special teams play.
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Draftees’ longevity key for NFL success
- Rice cornerback among 3 draft prospects to visit Steelers
- Despite many moves, Steelers’ depth still a work in progress
- Steelers sign former Texas cornerback McCain
- Expanded NFL replay draws mixed reviews
- Steelers take flier on ex-Colts WR Heyward-Bey
- NFL, players union turn attention to respect, conduct in workplace