NFL DRAFT DIAMONDS

Steelers are looking at a former NFL star to coach their offensive line

The Pittsburgh Steelers have expressed interest in Carolina assistant offensive line coach Ray Brown to fill the vacancy created after the team fired offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. on Friday. For the time being, the Panthers have declined to let Brown interview, but are expected to let him talk to the Steelers about the job after the playoffs have concluded according to National Football Post.

Brown spent 20 years in the NFL as a player and has spent the past seven years working his way up through the coaching ranks.

With 20 years of experience as an NFL player, Brown’s tutelage has been instrumental in the development of young Panthers linemen Byron Bell and Amini Silatolu. Bell, an undrafted rookie free agent in 2011, started 27 games at tackle or guard in his first two seasons, and Silatolu, a second-round draft choice from Division II Midwestern State in 2012, started 15 games at guard in his first season and earned all-rookie honors from Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers of America.

Brown spent 2010 as assistant offensive line coach with the San Francisco 49ers. While with San Francisco, he relied on his extensive background and knowledge to help integrate first-round draft picks Anthony Davis at tackle and Mike Iupati at guard into the starting lineup.

Prior to joining the 49ers, Brown served as the Buffalo Bills’ assistant offensive line coach for two seasons from 2008-09. In each of his years with the Bills, the offensive line opened holes for 1,000-yard rushers, and Brown helped tackle Jason Peters make the Pro Bowl in 2008.

Brown made his foray into coaching during the second half of the 2006 season as a special assistant on the Washington Redskins’ staff. In his role, he assisted with the offensive line.

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