Running backs coach Kirby Wilson took another step toward returning to the Steelers when he paid them a visit Wednesday at their training facility on the South Side.
Wilson, who has been on staff for the past five season, was severely burned in a kitchen fire at his home in Seven Fields the morning of Jan. 6. Listed in critical condition in the days after the fire, Wilson has 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 to 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 a cane to walk.
His visit was his first to the facility since the fire, 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 that. Arians' contract was not renewed and 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.
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 being drafted in the fourth round in '07. He missed the '08 season with an ACL tear and was placed on injured reserve 12 games into the '10 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.
Sepulveda is the only two-time winner of the Ray Guy award that goes to the top collegiate punter.
Jeremy Kapinos, who replaced him after his injuries in each of the past two seasons, remains the only punter on the roster.
The Steelers will open their exhibition season the week of Aug. 8 in Philadelphia and then return to play at home against the Indianapolis Colts in a nationally televised game at 8 p.m. Aug. 19 on NBC's "Sunday Night Football."
In their final two exhibition games, the Steelers will play at Buffalo the third week and finish up against Carolina at Heinz Field.
The game against the Colts will be the first preseason matchup between the teams since 2000 in Mexico City. It will carry added intrigue because the Colts hired former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and are expected to draft quarterback Andrew Luck with the first pick.
The other three games not broadcast nationally will be carried by KDKA.
Offensive tackle Bobby Massie of Mississippi State paid a visit Wednesday to the Steelers. He's the second tackle to visit, following Ohio State's Mike Adams.