Diggin' up some 'Dirt'

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos have apparently dug up a little 'Dirt' for their coaching staff.

If all goes according to plan, former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Dennis 'Dirt' Winston should be announced as Edmonton's defensive line coach later this week or early next week.

Landing Winston rounds out rookie head coach Danny Maciocia's coaching staff for the upcoming CFL season.

The 49-year-old Winston spent the past four seasons at the University of Toledo. Prior to taking over as defensive line coach in 2003, Winston tutored the Rockets' linebacking corps for two seasons.

When contacted by the Sun yesterday the native of Marianna, Arkansas, denied being poised to join the Green and Gold coaching staff.

"I don't know nothing about that, call me next week," said Winston, who earned his nickname by delivering punishing hits which flattened opponents into the ground.

According to a source, Winston returned his university-issue cellphone and has not attended any of the NCAA team's spring workouts which began last week.

Winston's decision to leave Toledo and the job which paid between $65,000 and $70,000 US apparently followed a chat with head coach Tom Amstutz nearly three weeks ago.

A product of the University of Arkansas, Winston was Pittsburgh's fifth-round selection in the 1977 NFL draft. Winston played eight seasons with the Steelers from '77-81 and '85-87.

In addition to playing on the Steelers' Super Bowl-winning teams in '78 and '79, Winston was with New Orleans between '82 and '84.

Prior to his stint at Toledo, Winston coached at Kentucky State, Grambling, Arkansas, Norfolk State, Arkansas State, Slippery Rock and Grove City College.

He coached the linebackers at Kentucky State, Grambling and Norfolk State.

Winston also served as defensive coordinator at those schools.

He was rumoured to be in the running for the head coaching job at Grambling before Christmas.

However, he never interviewed for the job.

The former Razorback was a finalist for the top job at Duquesne.

But that job eventually went to Jerry Schmitt earlier this month.


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