Alabama football assistant, Karl Dunbar may be headed to the Steelers

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Alabama football staff may have more turnover. Defensive line assistant coach, Karl Dunbar is reportedly in talks to join the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Rumors have been circulating for weeks that Alabama football assistant coach, Karl Dunbar would return to the NFL. Dunbar’s coaching career since 2004 includes 11 seasons with four NFL teams. He is highly respected by NFL head coaches.

Alabama football fans acknowledge his coaching acumen but question his recruiting ability. The latest message board rumor is Nick Saban was irate last week when Dunbar missed a home visit with top prospect, Malik Langham. Apparently, Dunbar was on the recruiting trail and missed a plane connection to get him to Huntsville, AL. The rumor contends Malik and his family were quite displeased. Langham signed with Florida on National Signing Day.

The reliable source re-published the tweet below.

Mehta covers the New York Jets for the New York Daily News. There has been nothing official released by the Pittsburgh Steelers or the University of Alabama. If the transition were to take place, it should happen within a few days.

Apparently, other coaches used the ‘Dunbar back to the NFL’ rumor throughout the closing weeks of the 2018 recruiting cycle. It is not known how much impact if any, this had on the Tide’s weakness in signing 2018 defensive linemen. While reviewing the 2018 signing class Wednesday afternoon, Nick Saban said the staff would continue to look for an additional defensive lineman. In the short term, such an effort can only be hampered by a coaching transition.

John Mitchell to retire?

If Dunbar is hired by the Steelers, it likely means former Alabama football player and assistant coach, John Mitchell will retire. Mitchell has spent the last 24 seasons of his almost 45-year coaching career with the Steelers. He is the Pittsburgh defensive line coach and assistant head coach.

John Mitchell is a legendary Alabama football player going back to the 1971 season when he and Wilbur Jackson became the first African-American players for the Crimson Tide. Coming out of high school in Mobile, Mitchell was offered an academic scholarship to attend the University of Alabama. Since he loved football and that opportunity was not available in Tuscaloosa, he played junior college ball in Arizona.

Bear Bryant’s good friend, John McKay planned to add Mitchell to the 1971 USC roster. Learning of McKay’s plans, Bryant quietly stole Mitchell away from the Trojans. After a great two-year Tide career and a few NFL seasons, Mitchell planned to attend law school at Alabama. He told Bryant he needed a job while going to school and the Bear hired him as a full-time coach.

Many Alabama football fans would love for Bo Davis to return to the staff. Davis is an outstanding coach and recruiter. He is currently on the staff of UTSA and still under NCAA sanction for violating contact rules. That violation and his purported lying to Nick Saban about it caused his termination by Alabama. Davis can coach and recruit on campus but cannot recruit off-campus for another year.

UPDATED: Thursday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Steelers confirmed the hiring of Karl Dunbar.

Next: 2018 Signing Class

The list linked above does not include new place-kicker, Austin Jones or Braxton Barker. Neither will use a scholarship. Jones is a graduate transfer from Temple. Barker is a walk-on QB.