Steelers to hire Randy Fichtner as OC after Ben Roethlisberger lobbies for him

Earlier on Wednesday, three days after the Jaguars ended their season in stunning fashion, the Steelers parted ways with long-time offensive coordinator Todd Haley. By Wednesday night, they zeroed in on his replacement. 

The Steelers will promote quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner to fill the vacancy, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora and multiple other reporters, including ESPN's Chris Mortensen and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac. La Canfora added that Ben Roethlisberger lobbied hard for Fichtner's promotion.

Fichtner started with the Steelers in 2007, arriving in Pittsburgh with Mike Tomlin. He has been the quarterbacks coach for the past eight years. He never has been an offensive coordinator in the NFL, but he was the offensive coordinator at Arkansas State University (1997-2000) and Memphis (2001-06). 

He developed a close relationship with Big Ben as the quarterback's relationship with Haley deterioriated. Last month, La Canfora reported that Roethlisberger asked Tomlin to allowed Fichtner to leave the coaching booth for the sideline to serve as a buffer between him and Haley:

Sources said Roethlisberger approached head coach Mike Tomlin about a month ago and requested to have a buffer between him and Haley on the sidelines, another set of eyes and a sounding board he could turn to. Specifically, he asked that quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner, who he is close with, no longer stay in the coaching booth in the press box during games but instead join other offensive coaches down to the sidelines. Tomlin quickly obliged, and the Steelers have been operating in that fashion since last month, sources said.

He's going to inherit a stacked offense. There's Roethlisberger, who already has put retirement rumors to rest. There's Le'Veon Bell (assuming he doesn't retire), who might be the most complete back in football. There's Antonio Brown, who might wind up being a top-five all-time receiver. And then there's JuJu Smith-Schuster, who looks like a worthy receiver to play opposite of Brown. The Steelers have been a top-10 scoring offense in each of the past four seasons.

That also means, of course, that expectations will be high. The Steelers recently fired their offensive coordinator after a season in which their offense ranked eighth in points scored, third in yards, and third in DVOA. Haley lost his job even though his offense scored 42 points against a great Jaguars defense. 

The point being, if Fichtner struggles even remotely, it won't take long for fans to call for his head.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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