Steelers owner Rooney: Arians' instability prompted change
Alluding to long-term stability, Steelers president Art Rooney II said, "I think it was time for a change" when talking about the sudden departure of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
In an interview on the team's website Wednesday, Rooney gave at least one reason why Arians won't be back next year — instability.
"Bruce talked about retiring for a number of years now," Rooney said. "We are looking to improve on offense and to have somebody in place for a number of years. We are looking forward to moving on."
Arians said earlier in the week that he had no choice but to retire after the team did not offer him a contract, and that he had been contacted already by a number of teams about coaching next year.
That was stark contrast to late last week when the Steelers sent out a news release saying that Arians retired after five years with the team as the offensive coordinator that resulted in two Super Bowl appearances.
The Steelers' offense finished 12th in total offense (372.3 yards per game) and 21st in points per game (20.3) last year.
Veteran nose tackle Chris Hoke will announce his retirement after 11 seasons with the team at a news conference Thursday
Originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent out of BYU, Hoke spent the majority of his career in a backup role.
In 2004 while replacing the injured Casey Hampton, Hoke had his most successful year, with 27 tackles and one sack. In Hoke's 18 career starts during the regular season, the Steelers had a record of 17-1.
Hoke was in the final year of his contract.
Clark in Pro Bowl
Steelers safety Ryan Clark will make his first trip to the Pro Bowl after Baltimore's Ed Reed opted out because of an injury.
Clark had one of his best years, as he led the team with 100 tackles to go along with five passes defensed and one interception.
Rooney said don't expect any visible changes to the Steelers uniforms, even though Nike will take over for Reebok starting in March.
"There will be some changes that won't be noticeable to the fans in terms of the materials used and stuff like that," Rooney said.
Rooney said that the team's throwback uniforms, which they have worn twice a year since 2007, will undergo a significant change to celebrate the organization's 80th year.
Odds and ends
Rookie tackle Marcus Gilbert underwent successful surgery on his shoulder Wednesday. ... Defensive end Brett Keisel said on his website that his injured groin will not require surgery. Keisel also announced that "Shear Da Beard II" will be held Feb. 9 at the Diesel Club Lounge. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and the shaving ceremony will start at 7. Tickets are $25, and all proceeds benefit the cancer programs at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh UPMC.