After the Pittsburgh Steelers lost assistant defensive backs coach Gerald Alexander, The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly tweeted that the Steelers should call Mike Mitchell. With the Indianapolis Colts, Mitchell has been an assistant defensive backs coach the past two seasons.
It’s safe to say Mitchell would be interested in a coaching role in Pittsburgh.
In response to Kaboly’s tweet, Mitchell wrote back, “Would be an honor and an amazing opportunity.”
The Colts gave Mitchell his first NFL coaching job in 2022. But The Indianapolis Star’s Joel A. Erickson reported on January 24 that Mitchell’s contract with Indianapolis has expired, and the team does not plan on him returning in 2024.
Mitchell played safety for the Steelers from 2014-17. In four seasons, he posted 281 combined tackles, including 1 tackle for loss. Mitchell also had 23 pass defenses and 4 interceptions.
Mike Mitchell a Candidate to Join Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Staff?
Mitchell returning to Pittsburgh as an assistant coach is an interesting idea. Although he played for Bill Cowher, Joey Porter Sr. played for the Steelers and then served as a defensive assistant and outside linebackers coach under Mike Tomlin from 2014-18.
Mitchell would accomplish the same feat, playing and coaching for the Steelers, if he served as a defensive backs coach in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers signed Mitchell to a five-year, $25 million contract ahead of the 2014 season. He spent four seasons in Pittsburgh, helping the team win three division titles and advance to the AFC championship game in 2016-17.
Mitchell began his career as a second-round pick of the then Oakland Raiders. After four years with the Raiders, Mitchell experienced a career year with the Carolina Panthers in 2013.
He posted 66 combined tackles, 4 sacks and 4 interceptions the season prior to signing a big contract with the Steelers.
Mitchell ended his career with the Colts in 2018. That was Frank Reich’s first season in Indianapolis. Four years later, Reich hired Mitchell to the Colts coaching staff.
In 10 NFL seasons, Mitchell registered 514 combined tackles, including 13 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 42 pass defenses and 11 interceptions.
Steelers Offensive Coordinator Search
The Steelers could eventually zero in on Mitchell. But the organization likely has its focus on offensive coordinator candidates at the moment.
One of the candidates the Steelers requested to interview, Zac Robinson, elected to join the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff as offensive coordinator.
The Steelers now have two candidates remaining — Thomas Brown and Jerrod Johnson.
Brown served as Panthers offensive coordinator last season. But he was a Los Angeles Rams assistant under Sean McVay prior to that. Brown coached the Rams running backs from 2020-21 and then the team’s tight ends in 2022.
Johnson has never been an offensive coordinator, but he’s a name that’s buzzing in NFL coaching rumors just as Robinson was. Johnson coached the Houston Texans quarterbacks in 2023.
The Steelers could pursue other candidates as well, but outside of Robinson, those two candidates are the coaches the team has publicly expressed interested in for their offensive coordinator opening.
Prior to that, Johnson was an assistant quarterbacks coach for the Minnesota Vikings in 2022. He also served as an offensive quality control coach with the Colts from 2020-21.
Other candidates the Steelers could consider for the role include San Francisco 49ers passing game coordinator Klint Kubiak, along with former NFL head coaches Kliff Kingsbury and Arthur Smith.
NFL pundits have floated all three names as possibilities for the Steelers this offseason.
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This article was originally published on Heavy.com