Steelers OC Randy Fichtner Won't Return After Contract Isn't Renewed by PIT

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner during warmups before an NFL preseason football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Pittsburgh, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Thursday that Randy Fichtner will not return as the team's offensive coordinator in 2021.

Head coach Mike Tomlin commented on Fichtner's departure, as well as those of offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett and defensive backs coach Tom Bradley:

"I want to thank all three of the coaches for their commitment and dedication to the Pittsburgh Steelers. They have all played integral roles in our success and I am appreciative of their efforts. Personally, Randy and I have been in Pittsburgh since I hired him in 2007, but our relationship began well before that. He has been a friend of mine for years and wish his family nothing but the best, and I am eternally grateful for our relationship both on and off the field."

Fichtner, Sarrett and Bradley will all see their contracts expire when the 2020 season ends and will be free to accept other job offers.

While the Steelers are parting ways with their OC, defensive coordinator Keith Butler is reportedly expected to remain in his role.

Per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, the Steelers are discussing a new contract with Butler, who plans to evaluate his coaching future on a year-to-year basis.

Fichtner, 57, had been part of Tomlin's coaching staff in Pittsburgh since 2007, which is when the Steelers hired Tomlin to replace Bill Cowher.

From 2007 to 2009, Fichtner served as the wide receivers coach. He was then exclusively the quarterbacks coach from 2010 to 2017 before taking on the role of offensive coordinator in 2018.

Pittsburgh's attack enjoyed a great deal of success in Fichtner's first season as OC. The Steelers were fourth in total offense and sixth in scoring, giving Tomlin arguably the best offense in his tenure as Steelers head coach.

Things dropped off significantly last season, with the Steelers falling to 30th in total offense and 27th in scoring, although much of that was because quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed all but two games with an elbow injury.

The Steelers rebounded a bit to rank 24th in total offense and 12th in scoring this season, but they struggled down the stretch, averaging just 19.8 points per game and going 1-4 in their final five regular-season contests following an 11-0 start.

Pittsburgh also had a disastrous first half in its AFC Wild Card Round playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns last week. The Steelers trailed 35-10 at halftime and turned the ball over five times in the 48-37 loss.

While Big Ben had a solid season, passing for 3,803 yards, 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, the lack of a decent running game seemingly doomed Pittsburgh down the stretch, as the Steelers ranked last in the NFL this season in rushing offense and were 29th or worse in each of Fichtner's three years as OC.