Area football fans have mixed emotions

It’s been an eventful week for football fans from around the Tri-State Area.

On the collegiate level, Urban Meyer said farewell as head coach at Ohio State with a 28-23 win over Washington in Tuesday’s Rose Bowl. He leaves a mixed legacy.

Certainly, no one can question his credentials as one of the few truly elite coaches in major college football. His record since coming out of retirement and leaving ESPN in 2012 to take on the Ohio State job was 83-9, and his overall record is 186-32. He coached two national championship teams at Florida and directed the Buckeyes to the national title after the 2014 season.

His reputation, however, took a big hit last summer, when he was hit with a three-game suspension that was handed down for his handling of a domestic abuse accusation against former assistant coach Zach Smith. Such accusations had haunted Smith since he served as an assistant under Meyer in Florida.

Smith, the grandson of former Ohio State coach and Meyer mentor Earle Bruce, accepted a plea deal in October that included a three-year protection order, according to his ex-wife, Courtney Smith.

Ryan Day will replace Meyer, who in retirement will teach a class in leadership at Ohio State and serve as an assistant athletic director.

WVU fans, meanwhile, learned Wednesday that Dana Holgorsen would leave Morgantown to coach at the University of Houston.

Holgorsen had a 61-41 record in his eight years with the Mountaineers, and was 33-30 in the Big 12.

His tenure ended with a 34-18 loss to Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl.

And, Steelers fans who had been looking for excitement since May 2017 when the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus folded its tents for the last time, got much more than they ever anticipated from star wide receiver Antonio Brown, who watched part of last Sunday’s win over Cincinnati in street clothes from the sideline in Heinz Field, refused to return phone calls from his coach or teammates, did nothing to help himself through a confusing series of tweets and was seen Wednesday night dressed as a hippopotamus while appearing on the television program “The Masked Singer.”

While the Brown situation has been comical at times, it likely points to deeper problems with Steelers management, including the Rooney family and coach Mike Tomlin, that have risen to the surface in the wake of this year’s late-season collapse that led the team to miss the National Football League playoffs.

Taken all together, it means our region’s residents will have a lot to keep an eye on during the offseason.

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