Burned Steelers' coach visits team; punter Sepulveda won't return

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Kirby Wilson took another step toward his return to coaching with the Steelers when he paid them a visit today at their training facility on the South Side.

Wilson, their running backs coach the past five seasons, was severely burned in a kitchen fire at his home in Seven Fields the ealry morning of Jan. 6. Listed in critical condition in the days following the fire, Wilson made remarkable progress, first in the burn unit at Mercy Hospital and later through rehabilitation. Doctors induced a coma to help speed his recovery.

Wilson has regained some of the weight he lost and, according to those who have seen him, he looks good. Wilson was burned on 40-50 percent of his body in the fire. The Steelers welcomed him with a reception in a meeting room that included a large cake and ice cream. Wilson used cane to walk.

His visit today was his first to the Steelers facility, meant as a way to say hello and thank his colleagues for their support during his recovery. Coach Mike Tomlin has said he expects Wilson to return to his job sometime this year.

Wilson, 50, was in line to succeed Bruce Arians as offensive coordinator but the accident changed all that. Arians' contract was not renewed and coach Mike Tomlin hired Todd Haley to run the offense.

Wilson has coached 14 years in the NFL with New England, Washington, Tampa Bay, Arizona and the Steelers.

Also, veteran punter Daniel Sepulveda, an unrestricted free agent, said the Steelers do not want him back for the 2012 season.

Sepulveda, 28, has been plagued with knee injuries since the Steelers drafted him on the fourth round in 2007. He missed the 2008 season with an ACL tear, and was placed on injured reserve after 12 games into the 2010 season with another torn ACL. Last season, he was placed on injured reserve early in November with an injury to his meniscus, his third trip to the IR in four seasons.

The only two-time winner of the Ray Guy award that goes to the top collegiate punter, Sepulveda was drafted on the fourth round by the Steelers in 2007.

Jeremy Kapinos, who replaced him after his injuries in each of the past two seasons, remains the only punter on their roster. Steelers - breaking

First Published April 4, 2012 2:45 PM


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