Steelers part ways with RB coach James Saxon

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Days after parting ways with outside linebackers coach Joey Porter, the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to shake up the coaching staff.

Head coach Mike Tomlin announced Monday that running backs coach James Saxon would not return for the 2019 season.

"I have made the decision to not renew the contract for running backs coach James Saxon," Tomlin said in a statement released by the Steelers. "We would like to thank James for his efforts over the past five years, and we wish him the best in his future coaching endeavors."

Saxon joined the Steelers in 2014 after a three-year stint in the same position with the Minnesota Vikings, where he coached Adrian Peterson. He also previously coached running backs for the Miami Dolphins (2008-10), Kansas City Chiefs (2001-07) and Buffalo Bills (2000).

With Saxon, the Steelers ranked 16th in rushing in 2014, 16th in 2015 and 14th in 2016, but slipped the past two seasons to 20th in 2017 and 31st in 2018.

Pittsburgh's ground game suffered a setback in 2018 when two-time All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell elected to sit out the regular season instead of signing his franchise tender. In Bell's absence, second-year back James Conner stepped in to rack up 1,470 total yards and 13 total touchdowns.

Meanwhile, the departures of Saxon and Porter likely won't end the transition within the Steelers' staff. Tomlin is sure to continue evaluating what went wrong during the past 9-6-1 season before choosing to make additional changes.

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