A big "thanks" to ESPN's Chris Mortensen for keeping alive a subject of great interest to Arizona Cardinals fans and, to a degree, NFC West fans in general.
The subject: Dick LeBeau to Arizona as the Cardinals' defensive coordinator.
The thought seems ridiculous on the surface. Why would the Pittsburgh Steelers let their most acclaimed assistant coach leave for the same job on another team? Why would LeBeau want to leave one of the NFL's most stable organizations? Why would he want to leave one of the NFL's best defenses for one of its worst -- at age 73, no less? And why would the Cardinals want what might amount to a one- or two-year rental after going through two defensive coordinators in three seasons?
I'll get to those questions in a bit. First, let's listen in on Mortensen's latest NFL chat.
Jeremy (Phoenix): Mort, what's the latest with the Cardinals DC situation? A lot of fans are getting impatient down here with Whiz ...
Chris Mortensen: As you know, Todd Bowles interviewed well but as we reported over the weekend, I believe Dick LeBeau will give the Cardinals DC job serious consideration. Dick obviously has a great relationship with Coach Whisenhunt, it is the 3-4, there is some talent and, you know, he loves to golf in his spare time! He is still sharp a 73 and I think he might embrace one last new challenge. We'll see soon enough.
Scott (Denver): What would you peg the chances of Dick Lebeau actually leaving Pittsburgh? .5%?
Chris Mortensen: 50.5% with the Cardinals.
OK, now let's get back to those questions.
Why would the Steelers let LeBeau leave? Well, they've reportedly promised his job to linebackers coach Keith Butler. Perhaps Butler, the Steelers or even LeBeau has a timetable. Why would LeBeau want to leave? I can't think of any good reasons, unless he's bored or feeling unwanted as a holdover from Bill Cowher's staff. Sometimes it's just time to move on. Why would the Cardinals want a one- or two-year rental? Well, they've been renting coordinators lately anyway. LeBeau is better than anyone they're likely to get, and he could groom a successor.
Earlier this week, I asked Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. about a potential LeBeau-Cardinals marriage. He noted that current Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had no say in hiring a defensive coordinator. LeBeau was in place and his status wasn't going to change.
"LeBeau is a fixture and the players love him and they might win the Super Bowl," Williamson said. "I just can’t see him going anywhere else. I can see him saying, 'One more year.' Arizona doesn't need him because of his age. He doesn't need Arizona because they do not have the players."