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Al Everest: Firing by Pittsburgh Steelers a 'shocker'

Al Everest didn't see it coming. The former special teams coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers was fired by coach Mike Tomlin after Thursday's practice, just two days before the team's third preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.

Everest, who held the role since 2010, declined to discuss his firing in detail with reporters.

"It was professional differences, and let's leave it at that," Everest told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Friday. "It was professional differences.

"It was a shocker," Everest acknowledged. He was replaced by special teams assistant Amos Jones.

Everest said the move didn't stem from the Steelers' decision to yank receiver Antonio Brown off kickoff and punt return teams. Brown helped improve both units as a return man, but his $42.5 million contract extension made special teams a too-risky proposition. Emmanuel Sanders is penciled in to take over those duties in 2012.

Tomlin refused comment. You often don't see coaching changes this close to the regular season, but the Steelers are one team that historically finds a way to glide through the occasional staffing hiccup.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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