After Kevin Steele's retirement, Hugh Freeze and Auburn football can do the funniest thing

After Kevin Steele's retirement, Hugh Freeze and Auburn football can do the funniest thing regarding their defensive coordinator spot.

Rose Bowl Game - Practice
Rose Bowl Game - Practice / Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/GettyImages
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Former Auburn football and, most recently, Alabama defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is retiring, reports ESPN's Chris Low.

"Veteran DC Kevin Steele, who just completed his third different stint at Alabama under Nick Saban, plans to retire from coaching, sources tell ESPN," Low prefaced before saying, "Steele, who turns 66 in March, has spent 40 years in coaching, 12 as a DC, and was a finalist for the Broyles Award in 2017."

Just hours earlier on January 8, Ron Roberts officially parted ways with AU and took a job under Billy Napier at Florida. So the Tigers' defensive coordinator spot is also open after rumors of Roberts' imminent departure sparked just hours earlier.

Hugh Freeze and Auburn football can do the funniest thing after Kevin Steele's retirement

After flipping Cam Coleman and Perry Thompson, Hugh Freeze and Auburn can do the funniest thing: steal Steele out of retirement and bring back the most successful defensive coordinator of the last decade on the Plains. In the process, Freeze would be getting another one up on Nick Saban, who inches closer to retirement every year his Crimson Tide comes up short in, or before, the College Football Playoff.

In 2020, when Steele tried to usurp Gus Malzahn and become his successor, the Auburn family turned on the Dillon, South Carolina native. But things have changed, and most Tiger fans have since turned on Malzahn.

As evidenced by Alabama's 2023 season, Steele can still coach up a defense. It was Tommy Rees' play-calling that caused the Crimson Tide not to make the College Football Playoff Championship in the game's biggest moments. Steele's unit kept Blake Corum to 83 yards on 4.4 rushes per carry.

It's not likely by any stretch of the imagination, but Freeze pulling Steele out of retirement would be a spectacular personnel victory for AU.