Special teams coach Jones leaves Steelers
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Steelers coach Mike Tomlin now has three openings to fill on his staff after Amos Jones accepted a job to become the special teams coordinator with the Arizona Cardinals.
Tomlin hired Jones as his assistant special teams coach when he became head coach in 2007. Jones took over all special teams duties last season when Tomlin fired special teams coordinator Al Everest in the preseason.
Jones, 53, was hired by his friend and new Arizona coach Bruce Arians, a former Steelers offensive coordinator whose contract was not renewed a year ago. The two worked on the Steelers staff together for five years and both were on Bear Bryant's Alabama coaching staff together in the early 1980s.
Jones, a native of Aliceville, Ala., also played for Bryant at Alabama.
The Tuscaloosa News first reported the hiring, and it has been confirmed by the Post-Gazette. The Cardinals are expected to announce Jones' hiring this week.
Jones is the third assistant coach to leave the Steelers. Besides Everest's firing, offensive line coach Sean Kugler left after the season to become head coach at UTEP.
Adrian Peterson signed and tossed miniature footballs into the Aloha Stadium stands, then chatted up Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson and Marcus Allen. Arian Foster played Peyton Manning's bodyguard for stadium cameras and told fans he recently walked on hot lava.
The Pro Bowl players practiced a little, too, on a sunny Saturday in Honolulu one day before an all-star game that likely will be used to determine its own future.
But the game's main purpose is fun, said several players including Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph and Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles.
"I feel like there's no responsibility, it's just all about fun," Charles said. "You work hard during the year -- it's not like a competitive game."
Competition -- or at least the appearance of it -- is exactly what the NFL is looking for from its stars today as it uses the game as a measurement of whether it's worth putting on in future years. Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the game will stop if play does not improve, drawing mixed reactions from top players.
Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman said he doesn't want this year's Pro Bowl players to be known as the group who led to the game's cancellation, taking away an honor and privilege for future players.
"I don't want this to happen on my watch," he said.
Rudolph said the players' natural competitiveness will help make the game entertaining.
"It's a game we want to win, so it'll be fun," Rudolph said.
The game should see plenty of scoring, thanks to limits on blitzing and defensive schemes. Bookmakers in Las Vegas expect a combined 811/2 points scored, with the AFC squad slightly favored. The NFC and AFC have won five Pro Bowls each in the past 10 meetings.
Florida State's E.J. Manuel passed for a touchdown and rushed for another on the South's first two drives in a 21-16 victory against the North in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Manuel and running backs Stepfan Taylor and Miami's Mike James combined to put the game for senior NFL prospects away on the final drive. Stanford's Taylor carried five times for 32 yards and caught a 6-yard pass from Manuel, who was named the game's Most Outstanding Player. Brigham Young defensive end Ezekiel Ansah received the honors for the South team while Purdue defensive lineman Kawann Short was the North's top player. Manuel completed 7 of 10 passes for 76 yards with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Alabama tight end Michael Williams. He also scored on a 2-yard run.
• What: NFL Pro Bowl, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu.
• When: 7 p.m.
• TV: WPXI.
• The skinny: Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey will start for the AFC. TE Heath Miller was selected but will not play because of a knee injury he sustained late in the season.
First Published January 27, 2013 12:00 am