The All-Out Blitz - Steelers should bring Lewis back

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Steelers should bring Lewis back

In a week without pro football in Pittsburgh, there was enough news surrounding the Steelers that it was unclear which was the bigger story:

-- Todd Haley getting permission to talk to the Cardinals about their head-coaching vacancy.

-- Or, cornerback Keenan Lewis' plans to test free agency in March.

I vote for Lewis because the Steelers could least afford to lose him.

Let's deal with the Haley situation before we make a case for the Steelers keeping Lewis.

Haley, the one-year offensive coordinator, did little to distinguish himself this season, succeeding only in raising questions about his system in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's mind.

After the loss to the Cowboys, Roethlisberger spoke out about wanting to use more no-huddle plays and the failure to properly utilize tight end Heath Miller.

The differences between Roethlisberger and Haley are not irreconcilable, however, and I believe the quarterback will try to make their relationship work next season.

But Roethlisberger won't feel as badly if he loses Haley as he was last year when the team forced out former coordinator Bruce Arians (a big mistake, by the way).

The only problem with losing Haley would be another change to the offense, further complicating life for Roethlisberger, who did not react especially well to change this season.

In that respect, the Steelers would be lucky to keep Haley.

Still, they need Lewis more than Haley.

Shortly after the end of the season, Lewis said he warned the Steelers they were making a mistake by offering him only a one-year tender before the '12 season. He later said he was misquoted, backtracking after realizing it's not smart for an employee to criticize the boss.

But if the Steelers can ignore Lewis running his mouth (he isn't the first and won't be the last), they should find a way to sign him to a multi-year contract.

Pair Lewis with Ike Taylor, and suddenly you have a defense that might actually intercept more than a couple passes.

That's the Steelers' biggest need. They can live with or without Haley.


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