Dec 23, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings running backs coach James Saxon coaches against the Houston Texans before the game at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers Hire James Saxon To Coach Running Backs

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings have swapped assistant coaches.

According to Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Reviewthe Steelers have replaced the outgoing Kirby Wilson, who signed with the Vikings over the weekend, with James Saxon.

Mike Zimmer was recently hired as Minnesota’s new head coach, so with Wilson coming in to tutor the Vikes’ offensive backfield, Saxon was on the lookout for new opportunities. He apparently found one to his liking in Pittsburgh under Mike Tomlin.

A 47-year-old native of South Carolina, Saxon had been Minnesota’s running backs coach since 2011. He previously held similar positions with Miami, Kansas City and Buffalo following a stint as a Rutgers assistant in the late 1990s.

Saxon was part of San Jose State’s backfield from 1986-87, then was drafted in the sixth round by Philadelphia in 1988. He played eight years in the NFL, primarily serving as a fullback.

While working under former Vikings sideline boss Leslie Frazier, Saxon coached one of the best backs in recent league history in Adrian Peterson. He also mentored Priest Holmes during the latter’s heyday with the Chiefs.

Among other duties, Saxon will now be tasked with assisting in Le’Veon Bell‘s progression from a high-quality rookie season to the rest of his pro career.

Saxon joins offensive line coach Mike Munchak as a new hire on Tomlin’s staff. There are reports Wilson may have been nudged out by the Steelers, so it’s feasible they’ve had their eye on Saxon since the leadership change in the Twin Cities.

Tags: James Saxon Kirby Wilson Mike Tomlin Pittsburgh Steelers

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