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Steelers fire running backs coach James Saxon

PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Steelers have parted ways with running backs coach James Saxon.

Coach Mike Tomlin announced Monday that the team opted not to renew Saxon's contract for the 2019 season. Saxon spent five years with the Steelers after coming over from the Minnesota Vikings.

Pittsburgh's running backs thrived under Saxon. Le'Veon Bell reached the Pro Bowl three times in his four seasons with Saxon. When Bell opted to sit out the 2018 season after declining to sign his one-year franchise tag, second-year back James Conner filled in capably. Conner ran for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns, but was limited in the second half of the season because of injuries.

Saxon's departure marks the second dismissal among the coaching staff since the Steelers went 9-6-1 and missed the playoffs. The team fired outside linebackers coach Joey Porter last Friday.

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Updated January 7, 2019

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