Running backs coach Kirby Wilson is leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers to don purple -- just not Baltimore Ravens purple.
Wilson was eliminated as a potential candidate for the Ravens' offensive coordinator position Saturday, but he won't return to Pittsburgh, NFL Media Inside Ian Rapoport reported.
The 52-year-old assistant reportedly will join Mike Zimmer's staff in Minnesota as the Vikings running backs coach, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said Saturday.
Wilson was once viewed as the Steelers' offensive coordinator in waiting. However, life-threatening burns from a kitchen fire in 2012 caused him to miss the opportunity. Todd Haley was hired when Bruce Arians' contract was not renewed.
Rapoport obtained a statement from Wilson on Saturday shortly after reporting the position coach's departure.
"I want to thank Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert and the Rooney family for having me as part of their Steelers family for the past seven years," Wilson said. "They were all integral in my recovery from my accident two years ago. I can never express how much that constant support meant to me."
It's interesting that Wilson, who had one year left on his contract in Pittsburgh, would make a seemingly lateral career move away from friend, Mike Tomlin.
"I have been on staffs with Mike for close to 10 NFL seasons and there isn't a better coach in the business," Wilson added in the statement. "I just got to a point in the progression of my career where I felt a change of scenery might be best for all parties. The Steelers allowed me to explore other opportunities. They are a great organization and once again showed why they are the class of the NFL."
Rapoport reported that Wilson became more involved in the offense as the Steelers recovered from their horrendous start this season.
It is possible Wilson believes a change will help him move up the coaching ladder in the future. Working with all-world running back Adrian Peterson must have been an intriguing prospect for Wilson as well.
Wilson joined the Steelers when Tomlin took the helm in 2007. He was previously the running backs coach with the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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