For the first time since he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010, Dick LeBeau will coach against the Detroit Lions, his former team, this fall.
“I’ve always had ambivalent feelings when we play the Lions, wherever I’ve coached, because when I see the Honolulu blue and silver out there, I always look out, and part of me still wants to be in it,” LeBeau, the longtime Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator, told the Free Press on Tuesday. “I’ll always have a debt of gratitude for the environment in Detroit that I played in and the people and the way they support their team.”
LeBeau, who’s being honored today in his native London, Ohio, as part of Allstate Insurance’s Hometown Hall of Famer program, had 62 career interceptions in 14 seasons with the Lions.
The Steelers host the Lions this fall on a date that will be announced in April. It’s the first time the teams have met in the regular season since 2009.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford missed that game with a knee injury, and wide receiver Calvin Johnson had one catch for two yards, but LeBeau said the Lions’ offense four years later looks “tremendous” from afar.
“People have been trying to (stop Johnson) for several years, but I haven’t seen anybody do it, and it’s probably because it’s very difficult -- if not impossible -- to do,” LeBeau said. “When you’re playing against players of that skill level, that are definitely at the top of their position, you just try to keep them from dominating the game, controlling the game. You know they’re going to be productive, you know they’re going to make their plays, and you try to keep them from running away with the game, which, unfortunately, doesn’t always work out that way. He’s a great player, and he’s got a quarterback who can get him the ball.”
Steelers' Dick LeBeau bullish on Lions, his former team
Detroit Free Press | Feb 20