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A level-headed news-discussion site with a sense of history and community https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/community_logos/47293/steel_curtain_fave.png 2019-04-21T12:45:00-04:00
Updated: 2 hours 3 min ago

A Letter From The Editor: The age-old debate of pass rush vs. secondary dominance

3 hours 36 min ago

The Pittsburgh Steelers approach the 2019 NFL Draft wondering the answer to this age-old debate.

All 32 NFL teams are preparing for the 2019 NFL Draft this Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee. Team needs are debated, big boards are evaluated and the selection process begins with fans and executives alike waiting to see the next name which will fly off the board.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers the desire of many fans is to secure the team’s secondary. Finding a group of defensive backs who can blanket the opposition has long been a want of the black-and-gold fan base dating back to Bill Cowher’s days in the Steel City.

When you think about it, when was the last time the Steelers deployed a formidable secondary?

When Rod Woodson and Carnell Lake were on the roster?

Dewayne Washington and Chad Scott? Ha. No.

Ike Taylor and Deshae Townsend? Maybe, but no.

Artie Burns and Coty Sensabaugh? Again. No.

I think most would agree Joe Haden, although advancing in age, would fall under the category of a sufficient cornerback. But will newly acquired Steven Nelson be the ying to Haden’s yang? Will he complete the picture? Or will the team need to continue to identify the secondary as a weakness?

The draft can solve a lot, but it doesn’t always answer those philosophical debates in the football realm.

For instance, what benefits a defense more? A dominant pass rush, or a blanketing secondary?

I brought this up on our latest Steelers Preview podcast (you can listen to it HERE), and it truly is a chicken vs. egg debate. You know, the “Which came first? The chicken or the egg?”

In other words, everyone will take one side or the other, but it doesn’t make one side of the debate right or wrong.

All I know is the Steelers have either led the NFL in sacks or come in second the past two seasons, and has the defense been complete? Has the defense been as dominant as fans hope it could be?

I know for a fact the solution to getting the defense back to form is not just adding a cornerback, or safety for that matter, but to have a more complete group. Think back to those early 2000s defenses. Did they have dominant cornerbacks? No. Ike Taylor was great, but wasn’t considered elite. Opposite him were players like Deshea Townsend, Bryant McFadden and William Gay. Was the pass rush considered the best in the league? James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley certainly did some damage, but the defense was dominant in the most important areas. Areas like red-zone defense, run defense and forcing teams to play their game, not the other way around.

Fans will debate the pass rush vs. secondary argument for years to come, but as the 2019 NFL Draft approaches, I can’t help but wonder what this defense needs to really make it complete. As you noticed in this article I have gone back and forth only to find myself standing atop the fence refusing to take a side.

What say you? What is more needed/beneficial for the 2019 Steelers defense? Pass rush or secondary? Let us know in the poll below, and be sure to explain yourself in the comment section!

Cam Heyward’s 2019 Steelers hype video will certainly get you ready for some football

5 hours 7 min ago

This video will be sure to get you jacked up for some Steelers football!

The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a rough go of things since the 2017 playoffs. Since that AFC Divisional Round loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Steelers have experienced more than the average amount of drama when it comes to NFL teams.

A lot has changed since that playoff loss.

Gone is Le’Veon Bell.

Antonio Brown is a member of the Raiders.

And the Steelers missed the postseason in 2018.

Sure, there were a lot of other events which took place in between those bullet points, but the Steelers need to get back to square one. Square one being a team which lacks the ego and focuses on their true identity. A need to get back to the grind it out style while keeping their mouths shut in the process.

The leader of his effort very well might just be the player who has been the team’s defensive captain the past two seasons. None other than one Cameron Heyward.

Heyward epitomizes the no-nonsense approach the fan base desires. But don’t think there isn’t a ridiculous amount of excitement for the 2019 season for those who still call the Steelers home. A chance to put the past in the past, and move forward with a fervor not seen since the team’s last trip to the Super Bowl.

To get his teammates, and the team’s fans, ready for the upcoming season Heyward released this hype video on his social media platforms. I can’t speak for everyone reading this and watching the video, but it sure got me jacked up for some football!

Check out the video below!

If you can’t see the above video, click HERE.

NFL Network will have cameras in Steelers war room during draft

7 hours 14 min ago

The Steelers are one of 23 teams allowing the NFL Network to broadcast live images from their draft war room this year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of 23 teams who will allow the NFL Network to place cameras in their war room during the 2019 NFL Draft, as per an announcement on Thursday.

.@nflnetwork's live coverage of the 2019 NFL Draft features the return of draft war room cameras, this year in a record 23 team facilities including the Arizona Cardinals w/ the No. 1 overall pick. Complete list of war room cameras: pic.twitter.com/nKXl6G29My

— NFL Media (@NFLMedia) April 18, 2019

This figure is a record number for the NFL Network, up from 21 in 2018 and the 10th consecutive season that the team with the No.1 pick in the draft will have cameras in their war room. The Steelers were also one of the teams who allowed the NFL Network access last year.

Perhaps more interesting to note are the teams who have declined to allow cameras into their facilities, a group that includes the Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins. Considering that Raiders general manager Mike Mayock was a long-time employee of the NFL Network until recently, it is interesting to note that Oakland is among the teams turning down the opportunity.

Pittsburgh will also be one of eight teams with an NFL Network reporter on site to get live reactions from team officials once their picks are announced.

Here are the @nflnetwork reporter locations for live coverage of the 1st round Thursday at 8p ET @MJAcostaTV @StaceyDales @MikeGarafolo @KimJonesSports @AKinkhabwala @JamesPalmerTV @TomPelissero @wyche89 pic.twitter.com/zcMIVBegFh

— NFL Media (@NFLMedia) April 18, 2019

The draft is scheduled to begin on Thursday, April 25 at 8 p.m. ET in Nashville and will be broadcast live on NFL Network, ESPN, ABC, and ESPN Deportes. The second day of the draft begins at 7.00 p.m. ET on Friday, April 26, airing on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. Day three of the draft begins at 2.00 p.m. ET, airing on NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

Podcast: The sleepers position the Steelers could target in the 2019 NFL Draft

8 hours 47 min ago

In the latest episode of “The Standard is the Standard” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-Gold from the week that was.

The Pittsburgh Steelers season is over, but the news is just starting to heat up. With a surge of Steelers news, it was time to get back on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-gold.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC flagship podcast The Standard is the Standard. On this show Jeff Hartman and special co-host Lance Williams break down all things Steelers, including a fun game of “True or False!”

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • The 2019 NFL Schedule
  • Offseason Workouts/Big Ben’s comments
  • Positional Sleepers
  • 1st Round Predictions
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeff Hartman, editor of BTSC, and Lance Williams walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-gold.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS: Have the right answer to the trivia question? Send Dave Schofield an email with your answer! stlrsuperfandad@gmail.com

Black and Gold Links: Why the Steelers should target Ben Roethlisberger’s next weapon in the NFL Draft

10 hours 9 min ago

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2019 is fast approaching, and the news surrounding the black-and-gold is far from over. For the drama-filled Steelers, things are just heating up, and this is where the daily links article comes in. You might have missed some key news, and we fill you in and give you the latest, and sometimes greatest, news surrounding the Steelers.

Today in the Black-and-gold links article we take a look at how the Pittsburgh Steelers should be looking for the next best weapon for Ben Roethlisberger in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.

Let’s get to the news:

Carter’s Classroom: Drafting Ben’s next weapon

By: Chris Carter, DKPittsburghSports

It’s time we talked about how to help Ben Roethlisberger and the offense with the 2019 NFL Draft. The defense has been the priority here for the past month, but adding ammunition to an offense that lost Antonio Brown this offseason and hasn’t had Le’Veon Bell since 2017 is still a major concern.

This is a collection of reasonable targets the Steelers could look to draft who could bring significant boosts to what Randy Ficthner has been doing with the offense:

When I graded Roethlisberger, my main takeaway was that he needed to spread the ball more. Some of that will need to come from an improved running game. Not forcing him to lead the league in attempts would help lower his interception total from 16 and give him a more balanced system to work around. Dale Lolley wrote yesterday on some running back prospects that could interest Kevin Colbert.

To read the full article, click HERE

  • Sean Davis is a solid player, but hasn’t displayed the playmaking ability many expected from the former Maryland product. In fact, the team might have to address the position in the upcoming draft.

Sean Davis might spur Steelers to draft safety

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Sean Davis in 2016, they were trying to get younger at the two safety positions, where the starters had a combined age of 60-plus years spanning the previous six seasons.

It topped out at a combined 66 years in 2013 between Ryan Clark (34) and Troy Polamalu (32). The next two years featured a combination of Polamalu (33) and Mike Mitchell (27), then Mitchell (28) and Will Allen (33).

The addition of Davis in the second round in 2016 brought down the average age as part of the reconstruction of the Steelers defense that started trending toward younger, athletic players. Terrell Edmunds came aboard last year as a first-round pick and, because of an injury to veteran Morgan Burnett, started 15 games.

This year, the Steelers again will have youth on their side in the secondary. Davis is 25, and Edmunds turned 22 in January.

To read the full article, click HERE

  • Joe Haden talks about how the Steelers will be thrown right into the mix in Week 1 when they travel to New England to play the Patriots.

Joe Haden: We’re right in it when the season starts

By: Josh Alper, ProFootballTalk

They’ll be in New England for the first Sunday Night Football game of the season, so the first look at their post-Antonio Brown offense will come against a Patriots team that will be kicking off a title defense. They’ll move on to host the Seahawks the next week and Steelers cornerback Joe Haden knows that the team will have to be sharp right off the bat.

“We have to make sure when we go into camp that we are prepared for something serious when we get started,” Haden said, via the team’s website. “When the season starts we are right in it. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter who we are playing, we just have to be ready.”

To read the full article, click HERE

  • A draft day trade every Steelers fan should never forget. When the Bus drove to Pittsburgh.

A trade that changed it all

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

On April 20, 1996, during the NFL Draft, they pulled off one of the best trades in NFL history, acquiring Jerome Bettis from the St. Louis Rams, along with a third-round pick, for the Steelers second-round pick in 1996 and fourth-round selection in 1997. The Rams had just drafted running back Lawrence Phillips, who spent only two seasons with them, in the first round and felt Bettis was expendable.

The rest as they say, is history.

“I got a chance to talk to Coach (Bill) Cowher,” recalled Bettis of when the trade was made. “My rookie year the Steelers came to Los Angeles and we beat up on them pretty good and I had a great day running the ball. The first thing he said to me on the phone was ‘We just traded for you. If you can’t beat em, join em. I remember you beat up on us your rookie year and I’m glad to have you.’ It was great to hear and to be going somewhere they wanted me. That worked out pretty well.”

To read the full article, click HERE

  • Social Media Madness

That final stop. pic.twitter.com/ZipAUgRKNV

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) April 21, 2019

#OTD in 1925, Ernie Stautner was born.

Stautner was the first player ever to have his number retired in #SteelersHistory. pic.twitter.com/r6oVDvWBev

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) April 20, 2019

#OTD in 1996, we completed an #NFLDraft day trade with the Rams for @JeromeBettis36.

We think it turned out pretty well. pic.twitter.com/oq4KZZjTcG

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) April 20, 2019

Steelers 2019 NFL Draft Scenario 2.0: With key players gone, Steelers trade out of Round 1

Sat, 04/20/2019 - 1:41pm

Time to take a look at specific situations the Steelers could find themselves in for the 2019 NFL Draft.

The future is now for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and with the 2019 NFL Draft just weeks away it is time we go through specific scenarios and discuss just what could go right, and wrong, with the Steelers in the first round of the draft.

We will be doing almost one scenario a week, and more leading up to the draft, which will always provide a different result, as well as the explanation behind the selection.

Time for the Steelers 2019 NFL Draft scenario 2.0.

Scenario: With the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting 20th in the 2019 NFL Draft, this scenario includes the fact the Steelers do not trade up in the draft, but because they see a run on potential prospects before they get to make a pick they do something they haven’t done in the Kevin Colbert era — trade out of the 1st round.

Devin White, Devin Bush, Greedy Williams, Byron Murphy, the Iowa TE duo among others are all off the board before No. 20, and the Steelers have a choice to make. They could take a player who most don’t value as a 1st round talent, or accept a trade to move back in the draft.

Steelers Pick: Kevin Colbert has never traded out of the first round in his tenure with the Steelers, but without a player worthy of a first round pick, the return was too good and plenty of talent remains in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. The Steelers gain high 2nd round pick and a late 5th round pick for the 20th pick..

Analysis: The thought of not having a first round pick is depressing to some, but with the thought of players like Artie Burns and Terrell Edmunds, who almost everyone would declare as a ‘reach’, fresh in there minds they should be okay with the thought of trading back in the draft.

This isn’t Colbert’s style but there is a ridiculous amount of talent there to be had in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Players like Hakeem Butler and Germaine Pratt should still be there, and with loads of Day 2 picks the Steelers could really enhance their roster with those picks.

With that said, the depression of not celebrating a first round pick could, and probably should, be dampened when the team gets some very good player on Day 2.

...

What would you think of this scenario played out when the draft began Thursday? Would you be storming the Steelers’ headquarters wanting Colbert’s head on a platter, or would you be okay with the move? Let us know in the comment section below!

Stay tuned to BTSC for more 2019 NFL Draft information and news, as well as more scenarios like this leading up to the big event.

Projected salary cap costs for Steelers 2019 draft class

Sat, 04/20/2019 - 11:35am

We take a look at the contracts the players selected by the Steelers are expected to sign this offseason

While the Pittsburgh Steelers might not know who they will ultimately end up selecting in the 2019 NFL Draft, they should already have a good idea what they will be paying them. Thanks to a sliding scale for rookie contracts agreed to under the terms of the CBA, every team effectively knows the contractual value of each draft pick long before they make the selection.

Using figures generated by OverTheCap.com, a site that has proved to be extremely accurate at projecting the value of rookie contracts each year, we can now also work out how much the players will cost the Steelers in each round as well.

All picks will earn the league minimum as a base salary in year one and all but those selected in the first and second rounds will also the earn NFL’s salary for each of their remaining years under contract. The most significant difference in contract value coming from the signing bonus associated with each deal.

With the minimum salary counting against Pittsburgh’s salary cap currently $570,000 under the Rule of 51, the only rookies who will have any real impact on the Steelers cap position are those with a higher cap hit in year-one of their deals. And while the prorated signing bonus amount for each player needs to be accounted for against the cap regardless, this effectively means that only those selected before round four will use up any significant amount of cap space.

For a team just $6,201,131 under the cap at the time of writing, according to the NFLPA public salary cap report, fans should take comfort in knowing that the 2019 draft class should only use up $2,777,280 in available salary cap space this year.

The Steelers 2020 UFAs, scheme and depth will have an impact on the upcoming draft

Sat, 04/20/2019 - 10:05am

While everyone focuses on immediate needs in the upcoming draft, the unrestricted free agents, and scheme, will dictate a lot for the upcoming selection process.

I have come out with my objections to drafting an inside linebacker and wide receiver early in the draft, but I did not delve into areas of weakness. I see the Pittsburgh Steelers as having all offensive, defensive and special team’s positions filled for 2019. Sure there may be a couple of camp battles for starting positions, but those battles should come from current players, not from a rookie.

If all starting positions are locked in for 2019, what does the team need for starters in 2020? What does the team need for sub packages?

Let’s take a look at the unrestricted free agents in 2020.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger: Should sign an extension.

Safety Sean Davis: Davis came into his own in 2018 and played well, not an elite player but not the liability he had been in past seasons. Pittsburgh should make an effort to resign the former second rounder.

Cornerback Joe Haden is entering the last year of his $3 million deal and may see an extension in the offseason. Let me clear the air here about my thoughts regarding Haden. I do not hate Haden. He is an average to above average NFL cornerback who has issues staying healthy. Just because our other cornerbacks are bad does not mean Haden is elite. I dislike that the Steelers pay him top ten cornerback money for such play and availability. If Pittsburgh signs him to an extension in the $6-8 million annual average salary, I would be fine with that.

Nose tackle Javon Hargrave has blown away all expectations after being drafted in the third round. His 2018 season was stellar with 6.5 sacks and 37 tackles while playing 43.6 percent of snaps. He needs to be extended and should be. Will he want to go somewhere that he sees more playing time?

There are four issues which hurt outside linebacker Bud Dupree’s stock in Steelers fans’ eyes. Fans look at TJ Watt’s stats and criticize Dupree for not putting up more sacks. Dupree detractors gloss over his solid run-stopping prowess. Fans love the flashy sack numbers even when they account for under one percent of most NFL players total snaps. Last, his $9.2 million salary. If Dupree was making $5 million or had 8-10 sacks, would fans be fine with him? Would I be shocked with no extension? No. Would I be crying in my beer if they signed him to an extension for $6-8 million per year? No.

Getting into needs based upon scheme is more difficult to gauge for 2019 due in part to safety Morgan Burnett.

1: Burnett accounted for 37% of the defensive snap totals.

2: Burnett struggled with his role with the Steelers.

3: The former Green Bay Packer was available for only 11 games.

The following totals are defensive alignment percentages from 2018 to 2017 totals in parentheses provided by Steelers Depot.

3-4: 30% (38.3%)

Nickel: 29.4% (36%)

Dime: 37.2% (24%)

Would a healthy and effective Burnett have changed those totals?

Did other injuries or ineffectiveness from other players impact the totals?

Are the 2018 percentages an anomaly or are these the numbers that defensive coordinator Keith Butler plans on hitting in 2019?

The tight end position seems to be solidified for years to come with Vance McDonald signed through 2021. His 564 snpas in 2018 were the most in his six year career. The trend of McDonald inability to remain healthy for an entire season continued in 2018. For his career he has averaged playing in just over 12 games per season due to a variety of injuries. Couple that with the loss of tight end Jesse James and his 2,321 snaps over the past three seasons, and you have the potential for a giant hole on Sundays. Current Steelers backup tight end Xavier Grimble has 22 career receptions in four NFL seasons. His most noteworthy catch led to a costly fumble in the 2018 loss to the Denver Broncos. Did he learn to secure the ball in the hand opposite the defender or with both hands? Personally, I do not want to find out in 2019.

I believe that Pittsburgh has their 22 starters on offense and defense on the roster for 2019. Lack of depth, scheme, and 2020 unrestricted free agents will have an impact in the upcoming draft. As fans, we can speculate until we turn blue on how general manager Kevin Colbert should conduct the draft. Until the Steelers first draft card is read by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, fans will be left with their wish list in their hands waiting and speculating.

12 intriguing facts about the Steelers’ 2019 regular season schedule

Sat, 04/20/2019 - 8:23am

Opening on the road, Monday Night Football, and the NFC West are just a few items pertaining to some interesting facts for the Steelers in 2019.

Now that the 2019 NFL schedule has been released, here are 12 interesting facts pertaining to the Steeler’s schedule:

The Steelers are opening up the 2019 NFL season for the fifth consecutive year on the road. It is the longest active streak in the NFL and is the longest streak in Steelers franchise history.

The Steelers are 17–2 in week 17 games dating back to 2000. Their only two losses were when they played in Baltimore. The Steelers close out the season in Baltimore in 2019.

The last time the Steelers played the Ravens at 1 PM in both regular season matchup‘s was 2006. If neither game gets flexed, the Steelers and Ravens will meet at 1 PM both on October 6 and December 29. The last time the two teams met at 1 PM for both games following a season where they finished in the top two spots of the division was 2002 after finishing first and second in the AFC Central in 2001.

The only time Ben Roethlisberger has won a game in the western time zone was in Week 5 of 2005 against the San Diego Chargers. The Steelers travel to the West Coast in Week 3 at San Francisco and Week 6 at the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Steelers have played their last six consecutive Monday Night Football games on the road. In 2019, the Steelers have two Monday Night games at Heinz Field. The last time they hosted two games on Monday night in the same season was in 2007 when they defeated both the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night in the month of November 21 days apart.

The Steelers have only played a Monday Night game following their bye week three times in franchise history: 2009, 2005, and 1997. The Steelers have never played a home Monday Night game following their bye week.

The Steelers only play one game in 2019 against an opponent who is coming off there bye: the Los Angeles Rams at Heinz Field on November 10. The Steelers are 14–12 all time against teams coming off there bye, and 7-3 at home (4-1 specifically at Heinz Field).

The Steelers are 2–1 against the Cleveland Browns in Thursday night games, but their loss was the only time the game was played in Cleveland (2009). 2019 will be the first time ever that teams meet on a Thursday not during Week 14.

The Steelers finish out the regular season in 2019 with back-to-back road games. Since the NFL expanded the regular season to 16 games, the Steelers have only finished on the road their final two games three times: 2015, 2007, and 1997. In all three occasions, the Steelers went 1–1.

The last time the Steelers played three consecutive home games in the regular season was 2015. The last time the Steelers played three consecutive home games at three different times of the day (early afternoon, late afternoon, and night) was 2010. The Steelers have a three-game home streak in 2019 beginning with a Monday night game against Miami on October 28 followed by a 1 PM game against the Colts on November 3 and a 4:25 PM game against the Los Angeles Rams on November 10.

In 2019, the Steelers are scheduled to play the Cleveland Browns in Week 11 and Week 13. The last time the Steelers played a team twice within three NFL weeks during the regular season was 1998 against the Tennessee Oilers.

The Steelers are 7–1 all time against NFC West opponents at Heinz Field, winning their last seven games in a row. Their only loss was in 2003 to the St. Louis Rams. They have also never hosted an NFC West opponent at Heinz Field in a game played other than at 1 PM. The Steelers host the Los Angeles Rams at 4:25 PM on November 10.

2019 NFL Draft: Complete and Updated 7-round draft order

Sat, 04/20/2019 - 6:39am

The full update 2019 NFL Draft order following offseason trades.

After a flurry of trades around the start of the new league year, it would appear that most teams have completed the moves they were looking to make ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft, barring a possible trade involving Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen.

The Cleveland Browns acquisition of New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. caused the most change to the top end of the draft, but the Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins are just some of the teams who have seen a significant shift in their draft capital over the past month.

The Giants and New England Patriots lead the league with 12 selections each in 2019, with the Cincinnati Bengals third with 11. No team has less picks than the four selections the Seattle Seahawks currently hold, while the Chicago Bears are only marginally better off with five. The Bears are also one of three teams without a first-round selection this year, along with the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints and Browns. The Raiders, Giants and Green Bay Packers are only only teams with multiple picks in round one. .

Compared to the last time we looked at the full 7-round draft order for 2019, there have been a number of changes since then.

As previously reported, the Steelers currently have 10 picks in the draft after receiving a third and fifth round selection from the Raiders for Antonio Brown and a sixth-round pick from the Cardinals for Marcus Gilbert. Pittsburgh also traded their seventh round selection to the Cleveland Browns as part of a deal for Sammie Coates that saw them receive a sixth round draft pick in 2018. Their seventh round selection this year comes from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as part of the trade for J.J. Wilcox in 2017. The Steelers extra sixth-round pick (No.175 overall) comes as part of the trade for Ryan Switzer in 2018.

Black and Gold Links: Despite contracts, could the Steelers be adding kickers in the upcoming NFL Draft?

Sat, 04/20/2019 - 5:05am

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2019 is fast approaching, and the news surrounding the black-and-gold is far from over. For the drama-filled Steelers, things are just heating up, and this is where the daily links article comes in. You might have missed some key news, and we fill you in and give you the latest, and sometimes greatest, news surrounding the Steelers.

Today in the Black-and-gold links article we take a look at how despite the contracts to both Jordan Berry and Chris Boswell could the Steelers be looking to add some kickers in the upcoming draft process?

Let’s get to the news:

  • The contracts for kickers Chris Boswell and Jordan Berry indicate the team will be riding with them in 2019, but could competition be brought in throughout the draft/undrafted free agent process?

Steelers could look to kickstart special teams at NFL Draft

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Coming off a season in which they each faced outsiders brought in to compete for their jobs, kicker Chris Boswell and punter Jordan Berry received financial votes of confidence from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Boswell had his $2 million roster bonus picked up, and Berry received a two-year, $3.7 million contract on the dawn of free agency.

Boswell and Berry each are entering their fifth season with the Steelers, but despite the financial outlays from the organization, neither is guaranteed a roster spot when the season opens Sept. 8 in New England.

To read the full article, click HERE

  • T.J. Watt talks about how being a team, not individuals, isn’t just a winning formula, but is Steelers football.

Watt: ‘That is Steelers football’

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

“We have to make sure when we go into camp that we are prepared for something serious when we get started,” said Haden. “When the season starts we are right in it. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter who we are playing, we just have to be ready.”

The schedule is highlighted by five primetime games, two at home on Monday Night Football, two on the road on Sunday Night Football, and one on the road on Thursday Night Football.

“That is Pittsburgh Steelers football,” said T.J. Watt. “We live for it, for the big time games and big time moments.

“The most important thing, though is we have to get back to being ourselves and playing Steelers football and not caring who is on the schedule, who the other team is, and just playing our brand of football.”

To read the full article, click HERE

  • David DeCastro reveals what it was like when the Steelers picked him in the first round out of Stanford.

DeCastro shares his draft memory

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

“I had no idea if the Steelers were interested in drafting me. There is so much smoke and mirrors being played. You couldn’t even think or worry about who was going to take you, being there are so many trades and variables and things that can happen and needs can change around by the time of somebody’s pick.

“On draft day I went to class and worked out. I wasn’t nervous. I just wanted to have a team. I watched the draft at the house of the host family I lived with during the summer. My parents came down, a couple of buddies and my teammates. It’s nerve-racking when you start watching because you are seeing your name up there and you are thinking just let me get picked.

“My phone rang around pick 20 and I was picked 24th. I saw a Pennsylvania area code and was thinking, the picks are so far off, but that must have been it. I answered and it was Kevin Colbert and everyone. It was just a blur. It was like what is going on. It’s nice once it’s over with. My dad was quiet; that is how he is. My mom might have cried a little bit, that is how my mom is...”

To read the full article, click HERE

  • Social Media Madness

One of the greatest gifts.#HappyBirthday | @tpolamalu pic.twitter.com/sbpjQkAAzH

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) April 19, 2019

The man.
The myth.
The legend.#HappyBirthday | @tpolamalu pic.twitter.com/n2UqrYIttz

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) April 20, 2019

.@tpolamalu's instincts at the line were next-level @steelers pic.twitter.com/Zj4ukcrP0n

— NFL Throwback (@nflthrowback) April 19, 2019

Cameron Heyward's Pittsburgh roots run deep, even before we selected him in the first round of the 2011 #NFLDraft.#SteelersDraft | @CamHeyward pic.twitter.com/5kHWAebq4D

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) April 19, 2019

Mood.

I love you @heinzfield @steelers pic.twitter.com/KJURkzz0Zy

— JB⚡⚡ (@MrNoFollowers) April 19, 2019

Friday Night Steelers Six Pack of questions and open thread: Offseason Edition, Vol. 16

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 5:45pm

There is plenty to talk about regarding all things black-and-gold!

Several people have asked if we could bring back the Friday Night Open Thread. I had moved the event to Saturday morning, but after minimal success, I decided to bring it back to Friday night — with a slight twist.

I liked the Saturday Six-Pack theme, so I decided to just take the six questions and move them to Friday night. Say hello to Friday Night Six-Pack of Steelers Questions and open thread!

The rules haven’t changed...

Quick rundown of the ground rules.

  • I’ll ask at least four questions strictly related to the Steelers.
  • The rest of the questions could be about anything.
  • Be respectful.
  • Have fun talking about the Black-and-gold.

That’s it! With that out of the way, it’s time to get this party started. Hey, don’t act like you’ve never done a little Friday night drinking. Here goes:

1. What is one dark horse contender for the Steelers, someone no one is talking about currently, to draft in the first round (assuming they stay at pick No. 20)?

2. Which game will live up to the hype more in 2019?

Week 1 - at Patriots
Week 2 - vs. Seahawks
Week 10 - vs. Rams
Week 11 - at Browns

3. Now that you’ve seen the schedule, what will the Steelers’ AFC North record in 2019?

4. Which game is most likely to be one of those “playing down to their opponent” losses?

at Arizona
at Jets
vs. Dolphins

5. If you had to pick one, who would you pick? Mike Wallace or Plaxico Burress?

6. With the NFL Draft less than a week away, what is your dream scenario for the Steelers? And how many picks do they actually make of their 10 total?

No matter what, always remember...

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

PODCASTS

Steelers March Madness Results: What Team is the Best of the Rest?

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 2:15pm

Bracketing the best teams in the past 50 years of Pittsburgh Steelers history never to win a title. In the final round, your votes determined the “Best of the Rest”.

BTSC has completed their search for the best and most-memorable Steeler team to not win a title. Through the last six weeks, you the BTSC reader, have voted from 19 total teams and have deemed the 1976 team the best never to hoist a Lombardi. In fact, some believe it to be the best and possibly most-cursed Steeler team ever. Here are the final results.

No. 8 Seed: 1976 - The Steel Curtain Defense at their highest level - 83% No. 5 Seed: 2010 - Slipping on the Stairway to Seven - 17%

Once again, here is one final look at Chuck Noll’s great team that suffered devastating injuries at the worst possible time.

No. 8 Seed: 1976 - The Steel Curtain Defense at their highest level

After winning their first two titles the previous two seasons, it seemed likely that the Steelers could three-peat as an even stronger unit. However, Chuck Noll’s team shockingly started off as a disappointing 1-4. To make matters worse, QB Terry Bradshaw was injured in a Week 5 loss in Cleveland. Bradshaw sustained the injury after the infamous Joe “Turkey” Jones slamdown. Fortunes would turn with Mike Kruczek behind center, as the rookie set a NFL record (later broken by Ben Roethlisberger in 2004) for wins to start a career. Bradshaw would return intermittently throughout the remainder of the season, but most of the Steelers success was due to a suffocating defense (five shutouts and a mere 28 points surrendered in those final nine games) and the rushing tandem of Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier. Harris (1,128 yards/14 TDs and Bleier (1,026 yards/5 TDs) were basically the entire offense, as the leading receiver (Lynn Swann) had a mere 516 yards and three scores. On a defense that included five All Pros, Mel Blount and Glen Edwards led with six interceptions a piece and Jack Lambert had two picks and six fumble recoveries. In the playoffs, the Steelers pounded Baltimore 40-14. Bradshaw threw three TD passes, two of them to Swann and Reggie Harrison had two rushing scores. Harrison was in due to injuries in the game to Harris and Bleier. Unfortunately, No. 46 and the Steelers weren’t as productive without the pair of 1K rushers the next week in the AFC Championship against Oakland. The Raiders went on to play Minnesota in SB XI, while Steeler Nation saw one of their best teams in franchise history wonder what might have been.

Pro Bowlers: Mel Blount, Terry Bradshaw, Glen Edwards, Joe Greene, L. C. Greenwood, Jack Ham, Franco Harris, Jack Lambert, Andy Russell, Lynn Swann and Mike Wagner

First-Team All Pros: Jack Ham, Jack Lambert and Glen Edwards

Second-Team All Pros: Joe Greene and Mike Wagner

Team MVP: Jack Lambert

No. 1 Draft Pick: Bennie Cunningham

Thanks for all of the comments and votes. In the comments section, feel free to suggest next year’s March Madness topic.

The NFL has some nerve giving the Steelers five prime-time match-ups again

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 12:15pm

After everything the Steelers have gone through this offseason with their reputation being dragged through the mud, the NFL has some nerve making them play five prime-time games in 2019.

Coming off a 2018 campaign in which they missed the playoffs for the first time in five years, I figured the Steelers would get a bit of a break in terms of the amount of prime-time match-ups they’d be required to play in 2019.

Nope.

In case you haven’t heard—and, according to the Internet, there’s no way you haven’t—the NFL released its 2019 regular season schedule on Wednesday, and your Pittsburgh Steelers will once again have to play the maximum number of five prime-time match-ups.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind prime-time games, really, but five has always seemed excessive.

Despite missing the playoffs last season, and despite only winning nine games, I figured the NFL would still want the Steelers and their ratings to perform in prime-time a few times in 2019, but I didn’t see five—not this year.

I know what you’re going to say, NFL and national media: “But you don’t understand, Tony. The Steelers have such a huge following. They’re a ratings winner each and every week, and when they’re on after 8 p.m., just think of the advertising dollars.”

You’ve got some nerve, NFL and national media.

NFL, you and your goofy rules, rules that cost the Steelers both the number one seed (“The receiver failed to survive the ground.”—2017) and a playoff spot (“Pass interference on No. 23 for making contact with the wind.”—2018).

And, you, national media, who has spent the past several months trashing the Steelers and their reputation. “What’s wrong with the Pittsburgh Steelers?” “Mike Tomlin has lost control of this team.” “This is a lack of leadership, is what this is.” “How can the very broken Pittsburgh Steelers be fixed?”

Now you guys want the Steelers and their ratings?

You want to put them up against the Patriots on the road on Sunday Night Football, the package that garners your highest ratings, in Week 1? You want to parade the Super Bowl champions and their six rings in front of Pittsburgh and all of Steeler Nation. You want to showcase the new standard for Lombardi trophies against the traditional standard for Lombardi trophies. You want to pit a buttoned up regime against a supposed circus. You want to create a national narrative that talks about everything the Patriots do right compared to everything Pittsburgh does wrong.

You want to force some Steelers fans to have to listen to other Steelers fans moan about an inevitable loss all summer leading up to that game. It’s bad enough people are already taking the negative route and saying things like, “Gee, if I had to pick a typical Tomlin loss, it would be December 8, at the Arizona Cardinals.” Now, we have to listen to things like, “Well, just get that first loss out of the way and then concentrate on the Seahawks in Week 2.”

And then you’re going to make Pittsburgh travel to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers later in the year. Why? Don’t you know the Chargers never have success two years in a row?

And the Bengals and Dolphins, two easy home opponents, on Monday Night Football? So, not only are you making folks stay up late to watch Pittsburgh easily dispatch two patsies, you’re giving the players one less rest day to prepare for the following opponent?

And then there’s the Browns, everyone’s paper champions, at Cleveland on Thursday Night Football on November 14.

I know what narrative you’re going for there, NFL and national media. “The downtrodden Browns and their long-suffering fans finally rise up and claim the throne from their long-time AFC North suppressors, the Pittsburgh Steelers.” (Cue the fans storming FirstEnergy Stadium and tearing down the goalposts as Ben Roethlisberger gives Baker Mayfield the All-Valley Under 18 Karate trophy and says, “You’re alright, Larusso.”)

First of all, suppressors? Nobody told the Browns to draft Johnny Manziel. Second of all, everyone knows teams like the Steelers always have and always will win those forced narrative prime-time match-ups.

Anyway, NFL and national media, I hope you profit mightily by the plethora of prime-time games the Steelers and their traveling circus will be forced to play in 2019.

Just do me a favor, when the playoffs come around, give the Steelers the 12:30 slot. For one thing, it’s good for writing deadlines. For another thing, I don’t think you want fans at Heinz Field to have too many hours to get ready for postseason football.

Le’Veon Bell sends message to Steelers, but will it even matter?

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 10:51am

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost Le’Veon Bell via free agency this offseason, and the All-Pro RB sent a message to his former team regarding their Week 16 matchup.

The NFL schedule release has become a full fledged event across the league landscape, and don’t think players don’t pay attention to specific games which pop up among the new slate of games.

For former Pittsburgh Steelers turned New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell, he has the Week 16 game vs. the Steelers at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey circled on his calendar.

In fact, Bell took to Twitter to send a clear message to the Steelers as they will be on the other side of Bell for the first time in his career.

Jets Steelers, Sunday December 22nd. I got a feeling something miiight be a little different this time around... pic.twitter.com/TPYolo7jtu

— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) April 18, 2019

While fans of both the Steelers and Jets had a strong response to Bell’s social media message, there was one player on the Steelers who took it upon himself to respond with both a hysterical, and real, tweet.

Aye Juice don’t get ya shit split https://t.co/66Yti7XdLX

— Vince Williams (@VinnyVidiVici98) April 18, 2019

Yes, Vince Williams always seems to pull through when it comes to handling social media behavior.

On the Steelers Preview 2019 regular season schedule podcast, we talked about the Week 16 game vs. the Jets, and how motivated Bell must be to face his former team. One thing which was discussed was the health of Bell in 2019.

No one knows what Bell will look like after sitting out the entire 2018 season, and if injury strikes you have to wonder if the Steelers and Jets will go head-to-head in Week 16 without Bell. And in this scenario the extra ‘sauce’ of the revenge rematch would be lessened greatly. This could be why the league decided not to highlight the game on primetime.

Do you think Bell will play in the Week 16 game? Or will injury strike and find him watching, rather than playing? Only time will tell...

Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown would have no issues being drafted by Steelers - ‘I love Pittsburgh’

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 8:59am

The Steelers might be reluctant to draft the cousin of Antonio Brown this year, but the feeling is not necessarily mutual

With the departure of Antonio Brown this offseason, it seems reasonable to believe that the Pittsburgh Steelers could be in the market for another option at wide receiver via the draft. With a range of viable candidates expected to be available in every round, while Pittsburgh should be spoiled for choice at the position, there may be one highly ranked name on the list that the coaching staff is somewhat reluctant to pick.

Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown has shown all the skills to suggest he has the potential to be an exceptional player at the professional level, but as the cousin to AB, his family connection could well be enough to make the Steelers consider passing on him. And given the way his cousin’s career ended in Pittsburgh, it would not be a surprise to learn that the Oklahoma product wanted nothing to do with the Steelers either.

However, when appearing as a guest on the Move the Sticks podcast with Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks of the NFL Network, Brown made it clear that neither he or AB would have a problem with being drafted by the Steelers.

“No, not at all. He wouldn’t have no issues either. I love Pittsburgh, you know, they got a Hall of Fame quarterback, you know, I love it out there”

Fans questioning the influence of AB on the younger receiver might also be interested to hear about the lessons he credits the his older cousin for teaching him.

“He taught me a lot, you know, from off-the-field to on-the-field ... My mentality out there, you know. When I’m training, you gotta train how you play, you know. And that's just what he taught me, it’s mentality, and when you out there, you know, you gotta think you the most dominant on the field.”

Oklahoma All-American WR Hollywood Brown (@Primetime_jet) joined the @MoveTheSticks podcast with DJ and @BuckyBrooks to talk about his draft journey. including if he can follow his cousin Antonio Brown (@AB84) as a Steeler.

LISTEN HERE: https://t.co/iIusCP6zWt pic.twitter.com/1QhAIxXff8

— NFL Podcasts (@NFL_Podcasts) April 18, 2019

Although Brown is giving an appropriately diplomatic answer to the question from Jeremiah, it seems reasonable to believe that he would rather end up with another team. The media circus that would surround his signing in Pittsburgh is certainly one that both the player and the Steelers could do without. As talented as he is, Marquise Brown should be an obvious pass for Pittsburgh in 2019.

Art Rooney II’s comments on the Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 regular season schedule

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 6:51am

The Steelers’ president has some candid remarks regarding the team’s 2019 slate of games.

The 2019 NFL Regular Season schedule has been released, and fans across the NFL landscape are still wrapping their heads around the full 16-game slate. For Pittsburgh Steelers fans, it would be important to know what the team owner thought of the new schedule.

Art Rooney II sat down with Bob Labriola of Steelers.com to give fans an idea of what he thinks about the upcoming season.

On the opening week game vs. the New England Patriots:

“We had some hints that this could happen, so it wasn’t a surprise. We’ve been there before, we’ve done this before,” said Rooney about opening in Gillette Stadium, which the Steelers also did in 2015. “It’s always a challenge, but we certainly know the scene up there. We’ve played in New England, we’ve played the Patriots a lot over the last few years, and so it’s almost as though they’re becoming a division opponent. It’s familiar territory for us, and we’ve got to be ready to go in primetime against the champs on opening weekend. What better way to test where you are?”

How the 100 year anniversary impacted the team’s schedule:

“It is exciting that we’re going to be celebrating the 100th season of the NFL this year, and there are some changes to the schedule related to that,” said Steelers President Art Rooney II. “One of those changes is the opening game of the season on that first Thursday night is a Bears-Packers matchup, and those are two of the oldest franchises in the league. I think that’s a nice way to open the 100th season. For us, we are affected by that in the sense that the traditional game hosted by the defending champs will be on Sunday night, and so we will be playing at New England for our opener on the first Sunday night of the season. It’ll be a big game, and of course it’s always a challenge to go and open against the defending champions.”

On the number of prime time games ahead for the Steelers:

“We have the normal number of primetime games, and the one good thing I’ll say about that is we don’t have back-to-back night games at home, which we had a couple of years ago and we like to try to avoid that,” said Rooney. “I think it’s a good schedule, particularly in that the night games at home are spread out. One interesting thing is that for the first time in a long time that I can remember is we’ll be playing the Cleveland Browns in a primetime game. It’s kind of different to see that on the schedule.”

“It’s the first time we’ve had two Monday night home games in a while, and as long as they tend to be earlier in the season, and these do fall earlier in the season, that’s OK with us,” said Rooney. “You don’t want to have too many Monday night games, but because they’re earlier in the season, that should help.”

On asking the NFL to pair their west coast trips to alleviate cross country flights:

“We’ve talked about it internally before, but the truth of the matter is that the odds of the league doing that for you are pretty slim,” said Rooney. “It’s just so hard to make these schedules up, and so we didn’t even bother to try to get that done. We just felt like it was something that didn’t have much of a chance of happening. If you can’t do the back-to-back thing, then I think you’re better off to have them spread out. Our night game against the Chargers in Los Angeles is followed by a bye week, and we appreciate that. It sets up pretty well.”

On upcoming NFC opponents:

“We have the NFC Champions, the Los Angeles Rams, coming to Pittsburgh in the middle of the season (Nov. 10),” said Rooney. “Seattle is here for our home opening weekend of the season (Sept. 15), and so some of the high-profile teams from the NFC will be in town and those should be exciting days at Heinz Field.

“That’s one of the good things about the way the NFL does the schedule. Players like Russell Wilson eventually get to Pittsburgh, and this year we also will have Rams quarterback Jared Goff coming here, so some of the high-profile young quarterbacks in the league will be making the rounds through Pittsburgh this year. It’s always exciting to see those high-profile players come to town.”

On the Steelers’ two games vs. the Ravens in 2019:

“The Baltimore game is always a battle, and no matter where it falls on the schedule it’s always a significant game for us,” said Rooney. “These days the schedule makers have division games on the last week of everybody’s schedule, and so everybody has to deal with that. Hopefully, we’ll have clinched by then, but more than likely it’ll be a meaningful game, and it’s always a battle down in Baltimore.”

Podcast: Offensive players the Steelers could target in the 2019 NFL Draft

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 5:31am

In the latest episode of “The Steelers Preview” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-gold from the week that was.

As the Pittsburgh Steelers season is over, and while the team isn’t playing anymore, it doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to discuss — so it was time to get back on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-gold.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC podcast The Steelers Preview. On this show Jeff Hartman, Dave Schofield and Bryan Anthony Davis break down all things Steelers leading into the offseason.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Black-and-Gold News
  • Jeff, Dave and Bryan’s Big Board
  • 2019 NFL Draft First Round Prediction
  • The wildly popular game ‘Either/Or’
  • and MUCH MORE!

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION!!

  • To be a part of the giveaway, be sure to listen to the podcast, follow the directions, and email Dave Schofield with your answers! stlrsuperfandad@gmail.com

Jeff Hartman, editor of BTSC, Bryan Anthony Davis and Dave Schofield walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-gold.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Black and Gold Links: While needs are evident, the Steelers shouldn’t look at G/C early in the draft

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 4:36am

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season is over, but if you think the news surrounding the black-and-gold is over — think again. For the drama-filled Steelers, things are just heating up, and this is where the daily links article comes in. You might have missed some key news, and we fill you in and give you the latest, and sometimes greatest, news surrounding the Steelers.

Today in the Black-and-gold links article we take a look at how with the Steelers’ team needs approaching the 2019 NFL Draft, drafting a center/guard is not high on the priority list.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Every NFL team has needs, and the Steelers are no exception, but if there is one position/area they don’t need to target early it would be the interior offensive line.

Steelers unlikely to spend premium draft pick at center, guard

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The last time the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted a guard was in 2012, when David DeCastro fell to them with the No. 24 overall pick.

The last time the Steelers selected a center was in 2010, when Maurkice Pouncey was the No. 18 player off the board.

Clarification: Those two seasons are not the last time the Steelers chose a guard and center in the first round of the NFL Draft. Or even the early rounds. That’s the last time they selected a guard and center in any round.

To read the full article, click HERE

  • The Steelers and WDVE go hand-and-hand...and this will continue until 2023.

Steelers, WDVE-FM extend broadcast pact through 2023

By: Jerry Diapola, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

For the past 20 seasons, Pittsburgh Steelers fans who can’t be in front of a TV on game day have known where to turn to hear the games.

The Steelers and iHeartMedia will keep that familiarity going through the 2023 season after reaching an extension of their broadcast agreement.

“We are thrilled to continue to bring millions of sports fans throughout Pittsburgh Steelers broadcasts and programming for years to come,” said Tim McAleer, Market President, iHeartMedia Pittsburgh.

The new agreement means play-by-play of the games will continue to be heard on WDVE-102.5 FM and WBGG-970 AM, with additional promotional support from six iHeart Media stations in Pittsburgh.

To read the full article, click HERE

  • People often want to hate on NFL players for how much money they make. Let’s forget about the risk of injury, etc. but just look at how much it costs for players to prepare for the NFL Draft.

For NFL prospects, cost of getting drafted can surpass $100K

By: Jeremy Fowler, ESPN

Getting a player to the NFL draft’s finish line leaves a trail of receipts, rental car reward points and steps through airport security.

For the four- to five-month period between the college football season and the draft in late April, prospects must be trained at the highest level, housed comfortably, fed premium food and prepared for team interviews. They have family members who might need some of these things as well. In one case this season, a prospect needed a gender reveal party covered.

And in most cases, not one cent comes out of the player’s pocket.

The player-agent recruiting game often comes down to one question: What do you cover? The answer can vary depending on the caliber of the player.

”I don’t blame the players. It’s a competitive environment,” said Andy Simms, an agent who oversees football operations at Young Money APAA. “One way to differentiate yourself is to spend money on prospects. And so you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to play that game.”

To read the full article, click HERE

George Kittle says tweet to Antonio Brown was a dare from Jimmy Garoppolo

By: Curtis Crabtree, ProFootballTalk

Via KNBR, Kittle said on Wednesday that his “Sup?” tweet directed at Brown was a dare from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

“Jimmy totally dared me to do it,” Kittle said. “And I am not going to say no. [I] threw it out there, and I thought it was going to be completely meaningless, and I got a response in about 10 minutes. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s exciting.’ It was fun.”

The tweet was posted just two hours shy of the start of 2019 and it didn’t take Brown long to respond back with a starry-eyed emoji that ultimately posed a question of if the 49ers would have any interest in Brown. Although G.M. John Lynch later admitted that the 49ers had interest in receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., Lynch said regarding Brown, “We took a quick look and then we just said, ‘Hey, we’re not interested in that for our team.’”

To read the full article, click HERE

  • Social Media Madness

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Let’s head to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe for our 2019 schedule… pic.twitter.com/blrW7zjwsW

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) April 18, 2019

It's a walk-off.#TopShots | #tbt pic.twitter.com/FhpAmJ81nW

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) April 18, 2019

Brothers ‼️ pic.twitter.com/LD4QKOkBu9

— Anthony Chickillo (@Chickillo56) April 18, 2019

Missi and Mike break down our 2019 regular season schedule. pic.twitter.com/hVNeWJo4X9

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) April 18, 2019

TE Xavier Grimble signs his restricted free agent tender with Steelers

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 1:35pm

The tight end joined offensive lineman B.J. Finney in signing his RFA tender ahead of the NFL deadline on Friday.

With the NFL imposed deadline for teams to extend an offer sheet to restricted free agents set to pass on Friday, it would appear that tight end Xavier Grimble has now signed the RFA tender the Pittsburgh Steelers presented to him earlier in the offseason.

As per the official NFL transactions report, Grimble signed the one-year contract with the Steelers on Tuesday, a deal that will pay him $2.025 million in 2019. He will become an unrestricted free agent in 2020. Offensive lineman B.J. Finney was the team’s only other RFA this year and has already agreed to his deal, signing his contract on April 2. Finney will earn $3.095 million this year and also become an unrestricted free agent next year.

Given that adding Finney would have cost another NFL team a second-round draft pick if they had signed him away from Pittsburgh, it is hardly surprising to note that he signed his tender relatively early in the process with outside interest effectively limited. Grimble was unlikely to find someone willing to beat the one-year offer the Steelers had committed to with the tender, even if signing him did not require a team to give up draft picks.

Cornerback Mike Hilton remains the team’s only free agent yet to sign his tender, but as an exclusive rights free agent in 2019, he only has the option to play for Pittsburgh or sit out the year altogether. Much like Alejandro Villanueva in 2017, Hilton is hoping to sign a long-term deal with the Steelers this offseason, rather than play on a one-year contract worth $645,000 as per his tender.

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