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Report: Bryan McClendon out of the running for Steelers WR coach

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 02/16/2020 - 6:47am
Photo by Jamie Gilliam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The South Carolina gamecocks have reported McClendon will be staying on their staff for the 2020 college season

According to, wide receiver coach Bryan McClendon is staying at the University of South Carolina and is no longer in the running for the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers coaching position. .

#Gamecocks wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon is staying on staff despite flirtations from the NFL plus we have the latest on South Carolina's staff structure and next expected hire

— (@GamecockCentral) February 14, 2020

It was reported last weekend that McClendon was the choice of the Steelers. It is unclear if the Steelers offered McClendon the position and he declined or if the Steelers had not reached a decision. Regardless, it appears as if McClendon is staying in the college ranks.

On Friday, Jerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the decision was down to McClendon and former Steelers’ wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery for the position. If Dulac’s report is accurate, the Steelers should be announcing their new wide receivers coach this week.

Steelers expected to sign a WR coach "any day now," per source. Appears to be down to two -- former Steelers WR Jerricho Cotchery and former South Carolina off coordinator Bryan McClendon.

— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) February 13, 2020

Cotchery began his career with the New York Jets for seven seasons before joining the Steelers in 2011. After a career-high 10 touchdown receptions in 2013, Cotchery went on to finish his NFL career with two seasons in Carolina playing for the Panthers.

Whoever is hired as the wide receivers coach for the Steelers in 2020, they will be taking over a very young group which has no one on the roster who is beyond their rookie contract. The Steelers have a vacancy at the wide receiver coaching position due to the unfortunate passing of Coach Darryl Drake in 2019. After losing coach Drake during training camp, coach Ray Sherman took over the position on an interim basis.

Podcast: Is a return to Pittsburgh in the cards for Antonio Brown??

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 02/16/2020 - 5:47am

The Steelers season is over, so we ask a really tough question — is a return to Pittsburgh in line for Antonio Brown?

The Pittsburgh Steelers have long since moved on from Antonio Brown, but since his past transgressions, and his apologies, could a return to the Steel City be in the works?

This is a tough question, and one where they can be multiple responses/answers to. This is going to be the talking point in the latest podcast.

Plenty has to be deciphered here, and Lance Williams puts it all out there for the listeners in the latest show...

Check out the show below, and be sure to comment what you think in the comment section below!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out the YouTube clip here, and be sure to subscribe to our channel by clicking HERE:

Apple Users: 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: Steelers trying to navigate through “unique situation” with Ryan Shazier

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 02/16/2020 - 5:05am
Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

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

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is officially over. After finishing the year 8-8, the Steelers, and their vast fan base, has another long offseason awaiting them. Just because the games are done doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how the Steelers are going to try and navigate through the unique situation which is Ryan Shazier.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Ryan Shazier still wants to play football, whether you like it or not. And the Steelers want to handle his next contract the right way.

Steelers want injured LB Ryan Shazier to return while dealing with ‘unique situation’

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Ryan Shazier has not played in the NFL for two seasons as he rehabilitates from spinal stabilization surgery, and there is no indication the Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker is ready to come back to the field in 2020.

Still, the Steelers continue to support Shazier’s comeback as they try to figure out how he fits on the team’s roster.

“It’s a unique situation,” general manager Kevin Colbert said Thursday when he met with select members of the media.

Team president Art Rooney said in January that Shazier’s contract from 2019 will not toll even though he spent a second consecutive season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

“We’d love to have Ryan back in some capacity,” Rooney said.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

Mason Rudolph’s lawyer strongly hints that Myles Garrett will be sued

By: Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk

In a world filled with #fakenews and social-media rumor mongering, it’s still a no-no to tell lies about someone in a manner that harms their reputation.

For that reason, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett may end up on the wrong side of the “v” in a lawsuit filed by Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Rudolph’s agents and lawyer, Timothy Younger, has published a statement on Twitter that makes clear the possibility that Rudolph will be suing Garrett for defamation of character, based on the allegation that Rudolph used a racial slur before Garrett attacked Rudolph with his own helmet.

“Mr. Garrett maliciously uses this false allegation to coax sympathy, hoping to be excused for what clearly is inexcusable behavior,” Younger writes. “Despite other players and the referee being in the immediate vicinity, there are zero corroborating witnesses — as confirmed by the NFL. Although Mr. Rudolph had hoped to move forward, it is Mr. Garrett who has decided to utter this defamatory statement — in California. He is now exposed to legal liability.”

The reference to California isn’t gratuitous or accidental. The civil courts in California are regarded as being more favorable to the rights of those who make claims, both as to the juries who resolve the cases, the trial judges who hear them, and the appeals courts that craft the applicable legal principles.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Todd Haley is an offensive coordinator a High School.

Todd Haley hired as offensive coordinator at a Sarasota high school

By: Josh Alper, ProFootballTalk

Todd Haley’s been out of the NFL since being fired as the Browns offensive coordinator in 2018, but he has landed another coaching job for the 2020 season.

Haley has agreed to become the offensive coordinator at Riverview High School in Sarasota, Florida. Haley has a home in the area and watched film with the school’s head coach Josh Smithers after being introduced by a mutual friend. That led to Smithers reaching out to Haley when the school’s previous offensive coordinator left for another job.

“We talked about the high school game being different than the pro game,” Saunders said, via the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “And he was all fired up, just to get out there and coach football again. He understands these are high school kids who go to school all day and you get them for a couple of hours versus people who do it for a job. He told me he’s excited just to teach quarterbacks how to read coverages and receivers how to run better routes. And I think that’s where he’s going to be able to excel. His ability to understand defensive coverages and have an answer for everything.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Social Media Madness

Joe Gilliam established himself as the best QB in camp.
Chuck Noll was considering starting an African-American at QB to open the season
Guys in the room knew Joe had the talent, and Chuck was going to start the most productive player#1974SteelersThread#BlackHistoryMonth

— Old Time Football (@Ol_TimeFootball) February 15, 2020

Week 1, 1974#Steelers #Colts
For the first time in NFL history, an African-American is an opening day starter at QB
Joe Gilliam (17-31-257-2-1) beat Bradshaw out for the job with a stellar camp, and that play would continue in this game.#BlackHistoryMonth

— Old Time Football (@Ol_TimeFootball) February 15, 2020

The ‘74 #Steelers draft class makes its debut, Stallworth (2-25),Swann (2-94-1), Lambert, Webster and Shell (UDFA).@Lynn88Swann 1st TD catch is a 54 yard bomb from Joe.#HereWeGo start on 30-0 over Baltimore #1974SteelersThread

— Old Time Football (@Ol_TimeFootball) February 15, 2020

Joe Gilliam to @Lynn88Swann
This was Lynn’s first TD catch#BlackHistoryMonth #HereWeGo #DeepThrowThread

— Old Time Football (@Ol_TimeFootball) February 15, 2020

The 1954 Steelers finished 5-7.
Finks 164-306-2003-14-19
Rogel 111-415-1
Mathews 44-652-6
Cameron 7 INT’s
Butler 4-75-2 pick 6
Stautner 3 FR 1 INT#1954SteelersThread

— Old Time Football (@Ol_TimeFootball) February 15, 2020

Mason Rudolph, Mike Tomlin respond to Myles Garrett’s accusations

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/15/2020 - 12:26pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After Garrett’s interview with ESPN, Rudolph continues to deny the allegations with the support of his head coach

Following the interview by ESPN’s Mina Kime‘s with recently reinstated Cleveland Browns’ defensive end Myles Garrett, Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph did not let the accusations go without response.

1000% False.

Bold-Faced Lie.

I did not, have not, and would not utter a racial-slur.

This is a disgusting and reckless attempt to assassinate my character.

— Mason Rudolph (@Rudolph2Mason) February 15, 2020

But Rudolph was not the only of the Pittsburgh Steelers to comment on the situation. Through the Steelers PR department, Mike Tomlin officially released a statement about the situation in regards to Mason Rudolph.

Statement from #Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin:

— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) February 15, 2020

Tomlin giving his opinion on the subject is quite interesting at this point of the year. Usually steering clear from these types of situations and not releasing statements on anything at this point of the season, Tomlin felt the need to stand up for his quarterback.

Tomlin’s statement speaks for itself. Pointing out how the story changed a week later from what it was the night of the incident speaks volumes. But in looking at why Tomlin made the statement can tell even more. What would the Steelers gain by backing Rudolph if the accusations were true? There is really no benefit in defending their player at this point unless they are confident they are backing up the truth. And for the Steelers to respond officially so quickly should be very telling that they believe the accusations of Garrett to be completely false.

With Myles Garrett choosing to continue his accusations of Mason Rudolph, it has drawn the attention of Rudolph’s agent. The following is a statement shared via picture on Twitter by Younger & Associates/QB Limited.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Rudolph and his agent decided to not pursue criminal charges for the assault on the field. But since Garrett has now added the assault of Rudolph’s character, the incident may very well end up in a courtroom. One thing we can assuming more than anything is the situation appears to not be going away any time soon.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for breaking news, player updates, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers.

Estimating what T.J. Watt’s legacy could be with the Pittsburgh Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/15/2020 - 11:10am
Watt may already be the best player on the current roster but what will it take for him to become the G.O.A.T? | Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Just how good could T.J. Watt be? Let’s talk about that...

T.J. Watt has quickly ascended into one of the most beloved players on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ current roster. In three seasons he's already been a finalist for the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, a finalist for the 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year, 2-time Pro-Bowler (2018-19), an All-Pro, and the team MVP in 2019. He’s continued to get better each and every week and is just about to hit the prime of his career.

Watt is due to explode in the next few seasons, likely hitting highs a Steelers outside linebacker has never reached. If I'm being honest, a 20 sack, 10 forced fumble season doesn't appear out of the question for the youngest Watt brother.

If Watt were to average 13 sacks-a-season over the next 5 years he’d be sitting at 99.5 career sacks and the all-time Steelers sack leader by 19 sacks.

At just 30 years old!

So what would it take for Watt to become recognized by Steelers Nation as its best all-time outside linebacker, modern defensive player, or even best defensive/overall player in franchise history?

Let's start small and work our way up.

Outside Linebacker

Who he’s chasing: James Harrison

Most important stat: Sacks (80.5)

What he has to do: Given how James Harrison’s tenure ended I think he has made it easier for Watt to supplant him in the minds of Steelers fans. I think the most important thing Watt has to achieve for this title is simply out sacking Harrison at a fairly-young age. A conservative estimate could see Watt breaking the century sack mark at the age of 31, meaning he could become the Steelers sack king near the end of his 7th pro season.

Likelihood: Very likely

Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images Watt could quickly make a name for himself as the greatest pass rusher in Steelers history. This mans legacy stands in his way Modern Defensive Player

Who he’s chasing: Troy Polamalu

Things he must achieve: A Super Bowl championship, 1-2 Defensive Player of the Year awards, a long and healthy career

What does he have to do: Things get increasingly harder for Watt to surpass the 2020 Hall-of-Famer’s legacy. But it’s not impossible. If Watt can consistently be the considered one of the best linebackers in football over the next decade, break some records, win awards, and bring another ring to the ‘burgh, I could see Steelers fans one day calling Watt the best defensive player of the last 40-50 years (considering the year would be around 2035). Where the crack lies is in longevity. Yes, Troy was forced to retire before he wanted to, and yes he did lose 4 or more games due to injury in 4 of his 12 seasons. If Watt could play 15+ seasons with the majority of those seasons ending with All-Pro nominations he could quite possibly build a resume worthy of surpassing Polamalu’s legacy.

Likelihood: Unlikely

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images Troy is one of the most creative and exciting players in Football history All-time Defensive player/G.O.A.T

Who he's chasing: Joe Greene

Things he must achieve: Multiple Championships, 2-3 Defensive Player of the Years, near or breaking Bruce Smith’s all-time NFL sack mark.

Things he must achieve: For starters, we must remind ourselves that Joe Greene is one of the greatest football players to ever step on the field. Anyone who could be ranked near or at that level is a very special player.

Another thing we should consider is that since the start of the free agency era winning multiple championships is increasingly more difficult. Winning two championships in today’s NFL is equally impressive to winning 4 in an era where you don't lose any players.

That being said, Watt would have to go on an absolute burner, I’m not kidding when I say he wouldn't just have to play at a DPOY pace, but an MVP pace. To think if he retired with 180 sacks, 2 DPOYs, and 2 Super Bowl rings, people would still question if he's even worthy of being in the same conversation as Mean Joe. He’d probably have to do all that plus some sort of legendary play that goes down in NFL history, or have a season with a stat line so absurd that even non-football fans would be standing around talking about.

Even then, there are some fans that will never changed their belief that Joe Greene is the greatest Steeler of all-time. No matter the stat line, or awards won, or what they do for the community. To many he’ll always be the G.OA.T.

Likelihood: Virtually impossible

Photo by: Diamond Image/Getty Images The greatest Steeler of all time. Mean Joe Greene.

Is it a bit ridiculous to bring this up now, just three seasons into T.J.’s career? Yes. But he's shown flashes and put up numbers unlike any Steelers player in recent history within those years.

So what do you think? What do you think T.J. Watt’s Steeler legacy will be? How many sacks do you think he'd retire with?

Has the “What have you done for me lately” mentality taken over Steelers’ Nation?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/15/2020 - 9:35am
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Does one year of subpar performance out shadow multiple seasons of production?

JuJu Smith-Schuster isn’t a number one receiver.”

James Conner is not the answer at running back.”

Ben Roethlisberger is done. We need his contract off the books.”

Stephon Tuitt can’t stay healthy so we should be looking for his replacement.”

“The Steelers have no choice but to sign Bud Dupree at all costs.”

First and foremost, I’m not saying that any of these statements aren’t necessarily true. There is some truth to everything being said above. Whether or not these statements will continue to be true through the 2020 season remains to be seen. But every statement above has one thing in common...

They are only looking at 2019.

Don’t get me wrong, we should not just erase the 2019 season from our memories and not learn anything from what happened throughout the year. But if we are going to look at this past season as our only sample to draw widespread conclusions, we may be writing off players— or crowning them— too early.

In looking at the first three statements, all of which I’ve seen multiple times on comments or message boards, they are in regards to three players who each of which were Pro Bowlers in either 2017 or 2018. Both Conner and Smith-Schuster made the Pro Bowl in 2018 while Ben Roethlisberger threw for over 5,000 yards. So in one season, a player can go from top of the world to out the door. Not just one player, three players.

Yes, each of those three players has something which could be concerning. Ben Roethlisberger is no spring chicken (which means he isn’t as young as he used to be if you don’t understand my country vernacular). James Conner has yet to play more than 14 games in a season. JuJu Smith-Schuster needs to show he can produce when another receiver is not taking the double coverage. But after one season where things were so out of the ordinary, are we going to allow these things to solely determine our judgment?

As for Stephan Tuitt, it doesn’t even go back in entire season. Through the first six games, Tuitt was having arguably a better season than All-Pro Cameron Heyward before he ended up on Injured Reserve. But since he wasn’t available the last 10 games, it seems to be that is the issue more than his stellar play which we could hope to get again in 2020.

And let’s not look at the other side of things. After five seasons with the Steelers, Bud Dupree has only proven that he deserves a decent pass-rushing salary based on his 2019 production. Where was he his first four years? Weren’t many of the same people who are saying the Steelers have no choice but to keep Dupree ones who were complaining when the Steelers exercised his fifth year option? But based on one year, many believe he is now a player deserving of the franchise tag.

When it comes to all these players, I try to take a look at a little more than the past season. Out of all of them, the most concerning is Ben Roethlisberger as every player hits a point where their age catches up to them. I’m not sure that Ben is to that point yet. Right now, he has two more years on his contract and it’s hard to say what those two years are going to bring. While some say this is definitely Ben’s last contract with the Steelers if he even plays out the rest of it, I am in the camp where I would like to see what he can do in 2020 before judging what happens two years from now. The next 10 months will bring a lot of clarity to the situation.

As for James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster, I’m hoping a season with injuries and less than acceptable quarterback play is a contributing factor so let’s hit the reset button for 2020. I’m not 100% sold that either is the answer, but they are a lot closer than anything else the Steelers could feasibly do right now.

As for Stephon Tuitt, he’s a beast. Don’t anger the beast. Let the man come back and dominate.

The Bud Dupree situation is tricky. I’d like to see the Steelers keep him mainly to have as little change possible on the defensive side of the ball which made such big strides in 2019. I’m also not set on the Steelers breaking the bank for a player that only produced for one season. Hopefully the two can find a happy medium.

Are there other players from the 2019 season who fans are ready to move on from based on one season of production? Sure. But these are the five that I have decided to outline because I’ve seen concerns dealing with them the most.

To reiterate once more: It’s not that these concerns are not valid. They are definitely concerns. But there are factors involved other than just this past season in order to make decisions on personnel and whether or not they should be discarded or upgraded. As for me, I’m going to continue to pull for each of these players to be the best they can be as long as they’re wearing the black and gold.

Remembering when it wasn’t dramatic news when the Steelers hired a position coach

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/15/2020 - 8:05am
Photo by Jamie Gilliam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Will Bryan McClendon be the Steelers new receivers coach? How about Jerricho Cotchery? Remember the days when you didn’t really care all that much about who position coaches were?

This past Monday, as I sat around trying to think of things I wanted to talk about with my co-host Bryan Anthony Davis on our weekly podcast, The Steelers Hangover, I said to myself, “Oh, shoot, I better read up on that Bryan McClendon!”

I’m referring to the guy the Steelers, as per several outlets (even the big ones), hired as their new receivers coach over the weekend.

After poring over McClendon’s Wikipedia Page, I discovered his resume was rather impressive: Former running backs coach (Georgia); former interim head coach (Georgia); former offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach (South Carolina); current receivers coach (Steelers).

Whoops, not so fast, my friend.

Turns out, much like Russ Grimm, when he thought he was the Steelers new head coach back in 2007, McClendon may not have actually been hired to take over on a permanent basis for the late Darryl Drake, who shockingly passed away during training camp last summer.

How come? Maybe, much like Mike Tomlin in 2007, Jerricho Cotchery, the former Steelers receiver, came in and blew his ex-bosses doors off.

That’s right, Cotchery, who played for the Steelers from 2011-2013, has been interviewed by Pittsburgh and is strongly being considered for the role (as of this writing, anyway. But even if someone else is hired by the time this is published, have they really been hired)?

Perhaps the Steelers will hire both McClendon and Cotchery. Much like Teryl Austin did as a secret defensive coordinator in 2019, maybe McClendon can team up with new quarterbacks coach Matt Canada and show Randy Fichtner what offensive coordinating is really all about.

Anyway, when did it become such a big deal to “be first” when reporting things like who the Steelers hired as a position coach?

Unless it’s someone with some celebrity cachet such as Joey Porter, Hines Ward or Mike Munchak (he should have been hired as the Steelers head coach, general manager, offensive line coach and capologist), who really cares?

Like the next season’s new regular season schedule, I remember the good old days, when I’d pick up the newspaper and see that the Steelers hired a new position coach and I’d go and place that newspaper on the floor, right under my dog’s water bowl.

Actually, most of the time, I wouldn’t know who coached a particular position until like his fourth year on the job.

Ah, the days before the Internet.

Those days are long gone. Not only do I have to pretend to care about who, when and at what day and time the Steelers are playing 16 teams next season (if they are scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, I will throw a hissy fit!), I now have to do research on their new position coaches?

I have to read comments sections on social media after these guys are fake hired, where people say things like, “They should have hired Louis Lipps instead!”?

That seems excessive.

Oh well, I don’t have to read up on Cotchery because I know a lot about him. I hated him when he caught that touchdown pass against the Steelers in the AFC Championship nearly a decade ago. However, I loved him when he was catching passes for the Steelers for the three seasons after that.

I predict he’ll get the job. You read it here first.

Report: The Steelers’ search for a wide receiver coach has come down to two names

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/15/2020 - 6:41am
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers still haven’t hired a wide receivers coach yet, but they are narrowing down the search.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ fan base has been waiting, and wondering, who the team will hire to fill the vacant wide receiver coach position. After the passing of Darryl Drake during the team’s training camp at Saint Vincent College, Ray Sherman stepped in as an interim coach.

It was never expected to have Sherman stay on the staff long-term, and the team seems to have been narrowing their search for the next coach to work with the team’s wideouts.

According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the team is down to two candidates: Jerricho Cotchery and Bryan McClendon.

Steelers expected to sign a WR coach "any day now," per source. Appears to be down to two -- former Steelers WR Jerricho Cotchery and former South Carolina off coordinator Bryan McClendon.

— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) February 13, 2020

After it being reported last weekend the team hired Bryan McClendon, other reports came in stating the team had not made their mind up regarding who will take over the reigns as receivers coach.

In regards to McClendon and Cotchery, they both have very differing resumes. McClendon has a ton of experience as a college coach, while Cotchery has extensive experience playing, even with the Steelers for a short sting, and as an assistant receivers coach in the NFL.

Whoever is hired will have a pretty stellar stable of receivers to work with. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, James Washington and Deon Cain, not to mention any additional players added via free agency or the 2020 NFL Draft, make up for a very talented, and young, group of receivers.

Also per Dulac, the news of their hire could come any day now, so be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they press on throughout the offseason.

Podcast: The Steelers don’t need a great running game to win in 2020

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/15/2020 - 5:30am

In a brand new show titled ‘Yeah, I said it’, we talk about some burning topics surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense was awful last season, but their running game might have been the most disappointing part of that dreadful unit. The good news is the team doesn’t need to have a great running game to win next season.

This is where the newest BTSC podcast “Yeah, I Said It” comes in. My co-host on ‘The Standard is the Standard’, Lance Williams talks about why the Steelers don’t need a great running game to win in 2020.

Time to deliver the goods on the latest show.

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!

Check out the audio below:

Feel free to give us your thoughts on the topic in the comment section below, and don’t forget to follow us on all our audio platforms by following the links below:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

Black and Gold Links: Despite new contract, Kevin Colbert remains committed to the Steelers long term

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/15/2020 - 4:29am
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

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

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is officially over. After finishing the year 8-8, the Steelers, and their vast fan base, has another long offseason awaiting them. Just because the games are done doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how despite his one-year contract, Kevin Colbert remains committed to the Steelers for the long haul.

Let’s get to the news:

  • One year contract. Playing it “year-by-year”. Doesn’t matter. Kevin Colbert is all-in with the Steelers.

Steelers GM Kevin Colbert affirms commitment to finish his career with team

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Kevin Colbert has spent the past 20 seasons employed by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

If he has his way, he’ll never collect a paycheck from another NFL organization.

The Steelers general manager, who signed a one-year contract extension last week, wants to retire with the team even though he has no timetable to do so.

“As long as the Rooneys and the Pittsburgh Steelers want me to be a part of this organization, and it’s a good thing for our family, we’ll be here,” Colbert said Thursday.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

Tim Benz: NFL must stop Myles Garrett from making racism claims against Mason Rudolph

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

After Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was reinstated by the NFL this week, he reiterated his claim that Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph called him a racial slur.

And, Garrett said, that’s what touched off the helmet-swinging brawl which occurred between the teams last season.

I am just as convinced now — as I was back in November — that Garrett is lying to cover for his actions.

There is zero proof to suggest he is telling the truth. And worse for Rudolph, he can’t prove a negative.

A man can’t prove he didn’t say something.

But here is ESPN’s Mina Kimes giving Garrett a platform to advance his story.

“He called me the N-word. He called me a ‘stupid N-word,’ ” Garrett says in the interview.

Oh. Now it’s not just the “N-word.” It’s “a stupid N-Word.”

Got it.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Sheer the Beard one last time.

A final farewell to the beard

By: Teresa Varley,

With the final snip, the last cut, the one last shear, it was so long to a legend.

Yes folks, it’s true. Brett Keisel’s beard is gone. And we don’t know if it will ever return in its full glory.

The beard that became famous, that had a life of its own, is done after Keisel hosted the 10th and final Shear Da Beard on Thursday night at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille in the North Hills.

There was entertainment, including Canadian country music star Brett Kissel, who won two straight Male Artist of the Year and Fans’ Choice awards at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards, The Ghost Hounds, a rock band with Pittsburgh roots that Thomas Tull, a member of the Steelers ownership group, started and is part of and Shear Da Beard wouldn’t be what it is without Pittsburgh’s own Donnie Iris on stage.

There were former teammates galore, there to show their love and support of Keisel, and getting their shot at taking a final snip.

And his family, including his wife Sarah and his three kids, were also there, ready and waiting to see the clean-shaven Keisel.

”She has been great throughout this whole thing,” said Keisel of his wife. “She puts up with my bearded antics. She is a straight rock for our family and doesn’t get enough credit. I am so thankful to have somebody who is my best friend and someone who loves me bearded or not.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Social Media Madness

. @RyanShazier!!! #ShearDaBeardX @ChildrensPgh @bkeisel99 @jergels #Steelers #SteelersNation

— Chad Tyson (@chadtyson) February 14, 2020

Just @_BigBen7 and @bkeisel99 sharing stories about their beards! #ShearDaBeardX

— 102.5 WDVE (@DVERADIO) February 14, 2020

Dick LeBeau made the trip for #ShearDaBeardX! #Steelers #SteelersNation

— Chad Tyson (@chadtyson) February 14, 2020

. @CoachTomlin’s turn to cut Da Beard! #ShearDaBeard #Steelers #SteelersNation @bkeisel99

— 102.5 WDVE (@DVERADIO) February 14, 2020

On Thursday, @bkeisel99 held his tenth & final "Shear Da Beard" to support cancer programs at @ChildrensPgh. #ShearDaBeardX

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 14, 2020

Friday Night Steelers Six Pack of questions: Offseason, Vol. 7

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 5:45pm
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

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. Right out of the gate, you can only keep ONE of the Steelers’ UFAs, who is it, and why?

Bud Dupree
Javon Hargrave
B.J. Finney

2. On our Steelers Preview podcast, you can hear it below, we debated a lot of topics, but I wanted to include this one into the Six-Pack: Who is the best athlete, doesn’t have to be a football player or Steeler, you ever witnessed perform live?

3. This was debated on multiple podcasts this week, but who are you taking and why?

Ben Roethlisberger or Terry Bradshaw?

4. What were your thoughts of the first weekend of XFL football? Does it have a chance to survive as a farm system for the NFL?

5. When it comes to the modern day NFL offense, what does “balance” between the run and pass look like to you?

6. Not a football question, but what are your thoughts on the Houston Astros cheating scandal? Was the punishment enough? Should the players have gotten punished too? What are your thoughts on Astros playing being plunked throughout the season?

No matter what, always remember...



Your Pittsburgh Steelers Offseason TV (Mis) Guide

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 2:05pm
Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

A fictional list of shows that may or may not be must-see TV.

Steeler Nation craves anything black-and-gold in the off-season. While the BTSC family of podcasts offers new programming daily, fans still want to see their favorite Steelers on their screens, monitors and devices. Here’s a proposed list of programming should the Rooney’s gift us with an all-Steelers network.

Leaving Randyland - Documentary (Netflix)

At the height of his coaching career, Randy Fichtner began a long-running relationship with a quarterback, a head coach and a legendary football franchise. Years later, fans tell the story of how the fortunes of their football team were destroyed by the inept play calling of the offensive coordinator.

Orange is the New Black and Gold - Comedy/Drama (Netflix)

Gummy Richards is a disgraced Wide Reciever whose narcissism and chicanery catches up to him. In his early-30s, the former Steeler is sentenced to spend time in a minimum-security prison. Forced to trade his NFL jersey for prison orange, Richards makes his way through the corrections system and adjusts to life behind bars, making friends with the many eccentric, unusual and unexpected people he meets.

Diners, Drive-ins and Daniel McCullers - Food (Food Network)

Host Guy Fieri is joined by a robust Pittsburgh Steeler as they go on road trips and visit diners, drive-in restaurants and dive bars that are popular among the locals in the US, and interacts with the owners, staff and the customers. Selected not only for his 6’7”/ 348-pound frame and the all-important alliteration factor, Daniel appears so infrequently for the freed up his time to do the show.

A Football Life: Danny Smith Jr - Documentary (NFL Network)

Showcasing the lives and careers of legendary players, coaches and executives, NFL Films examines the untold stories of the most influential NFL icons with unprecedented access. With nobody else available, the Steelers Special Teams Coach names just who he has naked pictures of to keep his job.

$#*! Antonio Brown Says - Comedy (CBS)

Based on the bizarre Twitter feed of the former All-Pro Steeler, hilarity ensues as Kevin Hart stars in this crazy sitcom.

Neutering Boujee - Reality (Animal Planet)

After his French Bulldog is caught humping his team-owner’s leg, JuJu Smith-Schuster struggles in making a decision whether-or-not to separate Boujee from his family jewels.

Dirty Red Jobs - Reality (Discovery)

The program on the Discovery Channel, in which host Steeler Special Teamer Tyler Matakevich, shows his unique versatility by performing difficult, strange, disgusting, or messy occupational duties alongside the employees that actually do these jobs for a living.

Crossing Jordan Dangerfield - Drama (NBC)

Jordan Dangerfield is a professional football player by day and a brilliant yet irascible medical examiner with a checkered past and a penchant for going beyond the call of duty to solve crimes by night.

Snell’s Kitchen - Competition (FOX)

A crop of aspiring restaurateurs try to prove their worth not to chef Gordon Ramsay. but to the Pittsburgh Steeler Running Back in the intense and explosive cooking competition. Each week the contestants are tested by challenges, during which they try to impress BSJ with their culinary prowess. While challenge winners enjoy luxurious prizes, the losers are forced to try to tackle the football star going full speed.

Watt’s Happening? - Comedy (ABC)

TJ, JJ and Derek are three working-class young men dealing with school, football, life, love and the regular antics of teenagers growing up. They routinely launch get-rich-quick schemes, which regularly go awry. They also have to deal with the interference of their bratty and wise-cracking little sister, Dee.

Burns Notice - Drama (USA)

A disappointing first-round draft pick (Artie Burns) and fans of the team he plays for agonize over if-and-when he will be cut from the franchise.

You, Me and Bud Dupree - Motion Picture/Comedy (Hulu)

Newlyweds Carl (Matt Dillon) and Molly (Kate Hudson) are anxious to start their lives together, but the pair soon become a trio when Carl invites his college football buddy Bud (Alvin Dupree) to crash at their place during the NFL’s offseason. At first, Carl is happy to have him around, but that soon turns to annoyance when Bud ponders quitting football and threatens to become a permanent fixture in their home.

Did we honestly expect anything less from Myles Garrett?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 12:19pm
Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

In an interview with ESPN following his reinstatement, Garrett is sticking not with his original story, but his explanation from one week later

In an interview with ESPN’s Mina Kimes, recently reinstated Cleveland Browns’ defensive end Myles Garrett doubles— or even triples— down on the events which sparked his attack on Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Myles Garrett again alleges on camera to @minakimes that Mason Rudolph called him a racial slur, sparking the brawl.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 14, 2020

Following the interview, I have to ask myself, “Did we really expect anything less?”

My son had a recitation for school he needed to practice. When he was asked to go over it, he claimed he couldn’t because he had a sore throat. I knew it wasn’t true, but it was the story he decided to go with. Therefore, everything else he did for the rest of the day had to back up his sore throat story. He got to a point where he either needed to continue with the same story or admit it wasn’t true. Luckily, when confronted with it, my son admitted he just didn’t want to practice.

Myles Garrett is in a very similar situation right now. He’s either got to go with the story he concocted, or admit that he lied about it. Those are his two options. The second one makes him look like an even worse individual who used a helmet as a weapon against a defenseless player on the field of play. Since there are holes in the story and it doesn’t seem to add up, he’s even gone as far to say the NFL is covering up audio they have of the incident. That’s a pretty bold move.

As you can see, I’m not buying Garrett’s story. There are several that are not buying the story because in the immediate aftermath of the horrific incident when the court of public opinion was against him the most (including his teammates), Garrett made no such claim. It was even mentioned again recently by a local Cleveland reporter as to why Garrett would not offer the explanation when he was made out to be the monster he was the night it happened.

My only question about the Rudolph incident: If he did indeed drop a racial slur, why didn't Myles tell me directly after the game when I asked him? Not saying it did or didn't happen. I'm just curious as to why he waited a week to explain what caused him to react the way he did.

— Noah Hiles (@Noah_Hiles95) February 14, 2020

It’s because he hadn’t figured out his excuse yet, Noah.

With Garrett waiting until his hearing to bring up the issue, it has become very suspicious. First, by not mentioning the reasoning until he was there, no one in the hearing could get any information to confirm what was said or not. Another issue is Garrett said he believed that the hearing was closed and nothing he said would get out. Doubling down on his story, he said it was because he did not want the explanation to get out because it wasn’t justification for what he did. Really? Then why use it as a justification? Or was it really that he did not want what was said in the hearing to get out so people could realize he tried to lie his way out of it? Or, now that his justification is out, keeping up with his story has become much harder to keep up, much like my son having to act like he had a sore throat all day.

But what if Myles Garrett was telling the truth? While I don’t personally think it makes sense, especially since there’s really no evidence to back up his claim and his behavior immediately following the incident does not match what he claims happened. But even if it was said, does it justify his actions?

In an article by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, he used a quote from Tony Dungy immediately following the incident to explain why Garrett’s justification is insufficient.

“I don’t have sympathy with Myles Garrett if in fact that is what happened,” Tony Dungy said. “If we’re in the bottom of the pile and Mason Rudolph is kneeing you in the groin or he’s trying to poke your eye out or he’s twisting your knee, something that’s going to affect your ability to do your work and your career, then, yeah, you can go off. But you can’t go off because somebody said something to you. All kinds of things get said out there on the field. There’s four-letter words. In this case it may have been a six-letter word, a multi-syllable word. All of that happens. I can’t go off and jeopardize my team’s chances to go to the playoffs, my career, my ability to make money because somebody called me a name. I don’t care what name he said, that is not an excuse to me.”

Myles Garrett didn't want his claim that Mason Rudolph used a racial slur to be talked about, but Garrett keeps talking about it

— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) February 14, 2020

So whether or not you believe what Myles Garrett is continuing to say about Mason Rudolph in the aftermath of his season ending suspension, trying to justify removing a players helmet and hitting their exposed head with said helmet just doesn’t cut it. But since Garrett has decided this is the route he’s going to take, he has no choice but to continue with the story he settled on giving. As much as I would like to see evidence come out proving he fabricated the whole thing, I would much rather just see the entire incident go away.

Is Kevin Colbert’s optimism for the Steelers 2020 season justified?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 11:05am
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ General Manager is pumped for 2020, more so than 2019, but should he be?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off back-to-back season of not making the playoffs. They finished the 2018 season with a 9-6-1 record, and followed that up with an 8-8 mark in 2019.

Seems like they are headed in the wrong direction, right?

If you ask General Manager Kevin Colbert, he would tell you how you are wrong.

In a recent interview with beat writers, Colbert said he feels better heading into 2020 compared to how he felt prior to the 2019 season. This per Brooke Pryor of ESPN:

Steelers GM Kevin Colbert: "We’re all disappointed at 8-8, but I feel better moving into 2020 than I did moving into 2019 coming off of 9-6-1."

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 13, 2020

Is this just the GM blowing smoke, or is Colbert being serious when referring to his overall confidence of the team heading into 2020 compared to last season.

Let’s discuss.

Heading into 2019 everyone had to have an idea the offense would struggle. After all, it would be the first year without both Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown on the roster. Throw in the fact the defense wasn’t exactly shutting down opponents and the thought of not being supremely confident makes some sense.

On the flip side of that is could Colbert’s confidence in 2020 be inflated? He spoke about the defense and how this unit will be the unit to carry the team in the near future. But what about the offense? If Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t come back fully healthy, it seems as if the offense will be destined for a repeat of 2019. A life of inconsistent quarterback play, and sub-par results.

With that said, if Roethlisberger is deemed healthy, and capable of making all the throws elite NFL quarterbacks are asked to make, everyone, fans included, should be excited about the 2020 defense combined with an offense who could score at least 28 points once in a season, something the team failed to do in 2019.

Looking ahead to 2020, is Colbert’s optimism for the season justified, or is he just toeing the company line and blowing smoke? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for another lengthy offseason.

Diontae Johnson recovering from sports hernia surgery this offseason

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 10:06am
Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports

An explanation of the mysterious photo of the young wide receiver in a hospital bed about a week ago.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense has a playmaker in the making in Diontae Johnson. The Toledo product is headed into his second season as a professional after he was a second team All-Pro selection as a punt returner.

Watching Johnson play you see why the team took him with their first pick in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Johnson’s short area burst, route running and elusiveness is undeniable, but this offseason he scared fans when he posted the following photo on his Instagram story:

This photo sparked speculation across the Steelers fan base, but no one knew exactly what Johnson had done, or was ailing from. As it turns out, the prolific wideout had just had sports hernia surgery.

This per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Steelers WR Diontae Johnson tweeted picture of himself in hospital after sports hernia surgery

— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) February 13, 2020

While this isn’t breaking news, it is important to note why Johnson was in the hospital and declaring how he is going to bounce back from the procedure/injury. As it turns out, Johnson will have to rest and rehab the sports hernia surgery, but, barring a setback, he should be ready for the 2020 regular season, training camp, and possibly Organized Team Activities (OTAs) when they roll around.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for Free Agency, as well as the 2020 NFL Draft.

Steelers 2020 Free Agent Market Watch: The Tight Ends

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 9:28am
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

BTSC takes a look at the top free agents at each position whether or not they are in the Steelers price range. Here are the Tight Ends.

Disclaimer: The author realizes that the team is burning in Salary Cap Hell and can’t pony up much money for free agents. However, you never know what they have planned and it’s the author’s responsibility to highlight the free agent options. It’s like the lyric in The Rolling Stones song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”... But if you try sometimes, you get what you need.

The Steelers have am uncertain situation when it comes to the position of tight end. Nick Vannett is a free agent, Zach Gentry was drafted as a project and didn’t contribute his rookie year and Vance McDonald did not perform well last year and is frequently injured. Does a Ben Roethlisberger return mean a better showing by the Vanimal or has that ship sailed? Do they draft one? Do they try to drum up money to bring in one through free agency? As unlikey as the prospect is, Kevin Colbert could get lucky under the couch cushions. Here the list of available free agents should the Steelers find themselves able to shop come March.

Austin Hooper - Atlanta Falcons

2019 Receiving - 13 games, 75 receptions, 787 yards, 6 touchdowns

Hooper is definitely the prize of the free agent pool as far as the TE position goes. The second-leading receiver last year for the pass-happy Falcons, The 6’4” and 254-pound Hooper is also a vey sure-handed receiver that has improved every year since having been drafted in the third round out of Stanford in 2016.

Hunter Henry - Los Angeles Chargers

2019 Receiving - 12 games, 55 receptions, 652 yards, 5 touchdowns

The last time the Steelers landed a Tight End in free agency from the Chargers, it was an injury disaster. But Ladarius Green didn’t have as many red health flags as Hunter Henry. Henry could be in the Kelce/Kittle conversation, but his missing 20 games the previous two seasons is a huge concern. A team is going to either have to take a huge leap of faith and hope he stays football healthy or get him at a bargain price.

Blake Jarwin - Dallas Cowboys

2019 Receiving - 16 games, 31 receptions, 365 yards, 3 touchdowns

Jarwin could be a fabulous, free agent bargain. At 26, he has exhibited plenty signs of promise and would fit it nicely in Pittsburgh, should they find the funds. The stats shouldn’t be a huge concern, as Jarwin split time with Jason Witten in 2020. The 2017 Undrafted Free Agent started seven games last year, but sources around the league think he can be a full-time starter in the NFL.

Eric Ebron - Indianapolis Colts

2019 Receiving - 11 games, 31 receptions, 375 yards, 3 touchdown

Ebron had a phenomenal 2018, but his career has been largely one of disappointment and underachievement. He’s high on athletic talent, but has been suspect with route-running and dropped balls over the course of his career with Detroit and Indy. However, being paired with another veteran QB (13 TDs with Luck in ‘18) like Roethlisberger could greatly improve his fortune and productivity. He may come on the cheap as well.

Greg Olsen - Carolina Panthers

2019 Receiving - 14 games, 52 receptions, 597 yards, 2 touchdowns

Olsen is no longer what he once was in this league. However, he was very productive at age 34 last year. A team on the precipice of a championship should consider Olsen. He has the skill and the experience to help deliver a ring.

Other Notable Free Agent Tight Ends

Jacob Hollister - Seattle Seahawks (RFA)

Nick Vannett - Pittsburgh Steelers

Tyler Eifert - Cincinnati Bengals

Charles Clay - Arizona Cardinals

Dan Arnold - Arizona Cardinals (RFA)

Ricky Seals-Jones - Cleveland Browns (RFA)

Nick O’Leary - Jacksonville Jaguars

Seth DeValve - Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bell - Kansas City Chiefs

Luke Willson - Seattle Seahawks

The expectations of the Steelers defense comes down to who is playing quarterback

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 7:47am
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

In a meeting with Pittsburgh media on Thursday, General Manager Kevin Colbert laid out the goals for the defense depending on who was under center for the black and gold

Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert met with members of the Pittsburgh media on Thursday and discussed a variety of issues. One of the topics Colbert discussed was the goals of the defense based on who was playing quarterback for the Steelers any given week. Looking at the confidence the team had in scoring points for each player, the numbers broke down somewhat how one would expect.

Colbert noted that when Roethlisberger was healthy, they had a goal of not giving up more than 21 points. When it was Rudolph, it was 17. When it was Duck, it was 14.

— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) February 13, 2020

Looking at these goals for 2019, it was difficult to judge as there were four different games in which multiple quarterbacks played. Since these goals would have been going into each game, let’s look at how the Steelers’ defense fared in games started by each quarterback.

In his two starts of 2019, the Steelers defense did not come anywhere close to keeping their opponents to 21 points or less when Ben Roethlisberger was at quarterback. In the two losses, the Steelers surrendered 33 and 28 points for an average of 30.5 points against in game started by Roethlisberger. It should also be noted the Steelers did not have Minkah Fitzpatrick for either of Roethlisberger’s starts.

As for Mason Rudolph, in the eight games he started in 2019 the Steelers averaged 16.75 points surrendered. While their average was right in line and led to a 5-3 record, there were only four occasions where the Steelers held their opponents to 17 points or less. Those four games were all victories which were over the Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Rams, and twice against the Cincinnati Bengals. The only game the Steelers won where Rudolph started and their opponent scored over 17 points was against the Indianapolis Colts when they surrendered 24 points but also added a defensive touchdown to help in the effort. The Steelers defense also scored a touchdown against the Rams, but they only gave up three points as the other nine were a result of plays by the offense.

When it came to the six games started by Devlin Hodges, the Steelers went 3-3 but did not meet their goal of surrendering only 10 points a game. The Steelers averaged 18 points surrendered when Hodges was under center, and the fewest points was the 20-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns. It should be noted there was also a game started by Hodges where the Steelers’ defense scored a touchdown to help counter the points they had surrendered. As before, if the seven points the defense earned was subtracted from the amount given up, the Steelers would have only surrendered 10 points to the Los Angeles Chargers.

It will be interesting to see if the Steelers employ a similar strategy in 2020 of holding teams to a certain number of points based on who is taking snaps. In looking at what both Art Rooney II and Kevin Colbert have said, the Steelers plan on going into 2020 with the same stable of quarterbacks.

Colbert on QBs behind Ben: 'We know who are backups are. We're comfortable with who our backups are. We're comfortable with those four guys (Rudolph, Hodges, Paxton Lynch, J.T. Barrett) entering camp.'

— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) February 13, 2020

There’s no way to know unless the Steelers are forthcoming with the information as to what their goals would be based on each quarterback, but using this formula from 2019 and equating it to 2020 may be a great starting point. If all goes well, a healed Ben Roethlisberger will be the starter for 16 games and more in 2020. Regardless of who ends up being under center for the Steelers next season, leaning heavily on their defense will be a strategy the Steelers will most likely deploy.

The Steelers are considering bringing in a Free Agent WR, but who’s a feasible option?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 6:29am
Danny Amendola might be exactly the player the Steelers can chase in free agency | Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers might be targeting a free agent wide receiver, but who actually makes sense for the team?

Steelers President Art Rooney II, recently said the organization will kick the tires on the wide receiver and running back free agent markets. But with such limited cap space and contracts of their own that must be worked out I could only imagine one affordable veteran offseason acquisition being a possibility.

We’ll be looking for opportunities if we can to add a player we think can help us, whether it’s a wide receiver or running back. -Art Rooney II

Running backs James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, and Benny Snell are also still on their rookie deals and Kerrith Whyte Jr. displayed his athleticism well. So I can’t foresee any move being made at the position. But wide receiver remains interesting to me.

One year ago the Steelers brought in veteran Free Agent Donte Moncrief to help lead the new look receiving corps. Management also felt as though he was on the precipice of a break out season. They were wrong, oh so wrong.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and James Washington are all currently 23 years of age and with Ben Roethlisberger’s career is winding down, the organization wouldn't likely spend another 2nd round pick to round out the position group. But rather amalgamate a veteran with sure hands into the mix.

But who is available and comes with a price tag in the Steelers budget?

We can eliminate the likes of Amari Cooper, Emmanuel Sanders, Robby Anderson and AJ Green because they're all projected to receive over $10 million (via/sportac). We can also eliminate Devin Funchess, and Travis Benjamin due to health concerns, or Nelson Agholor, and Breshad Perriman due to catch rate (A rabbit hole this team won't jump down again in the near-future).

That really only leaves 2 names: Randall Cobb, and Danny Amendola. Both will be in their 30’s come the start of the 101st league year. Both are coming off 15 game seasons where either player was targeted at least 83 times and the two combined for 14 drops (30 games).

Randall Cobb is the younger of the duo and figures to be the more expensive option. Sportac estimates Cobbs yearly value at $7.1 million. But over the course of a backloaded 2-3 year deal the contract should fit under cap without issue.

Danny Amendola will be 34 in 2020, but has been on a long stretch of good health and consistent play. Amendola figures to be roughly around the same value as his 2019 hit of $4.4 Million. Depending on the market, he could possibly snagged for a bit less than that.

Depending on how much cap is cleared will likely determine which of those two names would suit up for the Steelers and while neither player would make for the flashiest move, taking into consideration what Art Rooney said, plus the philosophy of the team, and the cap situation, adding either player would make for a believable addition.

So what do you think? Are Amendola or Cobb the only believable WR targets? Are there any other names you think this team could chase? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Podcast: Do Steelers fans really appreciate Ben Roethlisberger?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 5:32am

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.

The 2019 season is now over, and with the Pittsburgh Steelers now in the offseason, it is 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:

  • Do fans really appreciate Ben Roethlisberger?
  • Steelers Trivia
  • Position Breakdown: Running Backs
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

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
Google Play: CLICK HERE

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

The After Party podcast will be published in audio platform after 1:00 p.m. ET, and the audio can be found below:

Black and Gold Links: When it comes to pass rush, there isn’t a better team than the Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 4:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is officially over. After finishing the year 8-8, the Steelers, and their vast fan base, has another long offseason awaiting them. Just because the games are done doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how the Pittsburgh Steelers have been the gold standard in regards to pass rush the past few seasons.

Let’s get to the news:

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers defense hasn’t always been great, but getting to the quarterback has always been their bread and butter.

Steelers brought the heat in 2019

By: Mike Prisuta,

The Steelers sacked quarterbacks an NFL-leading 54 times in 2019.

The final defensive series on Dec. 8 at Arizona, which included sacks No. 47 and No. 48 on the season, was as representative as any in illustrating the impact of the pass rush.

The Cardinals got the ball back at their 25-yard line with 1:42 remaining in regulation and the Steelers leading by six.

On first-and-10, defensive tackle Cam Heyward got to quarterback Kyler Murray for a loss of 5.

On second-and-15, Murray fought off contact from defensive tackle Javon Hargrave and outside linebacker Bud Dupree but stumbled and fumbled and eventually fell on the ball for a loss of 6.

On-third-and-22, Murray threw incomplete under intense pressure.

And on fourth-and-22, Murray was flushed backwards by Heyward, rolled left and managed a downfield heave just before being buried by outside linebacker T.J. Watt. Cornerback Joe Haden came up with the interception that put the exclamation point on a 23-17 triumph.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Mason Rudolph is reportedly not going to be getting any of his $50k back from the NFL.

Report: Steelers QB Mason Rudolph’s $50K fine upheld for role in Browns brawl

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph’s fine for his role in the team’s brawl with the Cleveland Browns reportedly has been upheld.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Wednesday that the NFL “recently” upheld the $50,000 fine levied on Rudolph.

On Wednesday, the NFL ended Browns defensive end Myles Garrett’s indefinite suspension for swinging his helmet at Rudolph’s head in November.

Rudolph was not suspended for his role in the brawl. More than $800,000 in fines were originally doled out after the game among 33 players. The final tally for the brawl was $732,422 in fines, which is believed to be an NFL record for one incident, reported.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

If there’s a “next time” with Myles Garrett, it likely will be his last time

By: Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk

In the moments after he forcibly removed the helmet of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and whacked him over the head with it, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett calmly explained that he “lost [his] cool.”

Indeed he did. And now that he has been reinstated, it’s critical for the Browns, the league, and Garrett that he never lose his cool that way again.

Everyone associated with the game of football (especially Rudolph) got lucky when Rudolph seemed unfazed by the windmilled whacking over his head with a hard plastic helmet. If he’d been seriously hurt or worse, the NFL may have realized a worst-case scenario.

With Garrett reinstated, the league and the Browns need to be completely sure he won’t do it again. That’s surely why Garrett didn’t receive a finite suspension. The NFL wanted/needed the ability to talk to Garrett and to ensure that his behavior was an aberration before allowing him to return to play. Although it’s unclear what the league did to come to the conclusion that Garrett won’t do it again (surely, opponents will be baiting him), the ultimate pass-fail proposition will be whether he does it again.

If he does, there may not be a second reinstatement. And if he inflicts a real injury on an opponent, the league and the Browns will be facing real liability for allowing Garrett to keep playing football at a time when the league knew or should have known that he had a propensity to blow a fuse.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Social Media Madness

Roll the tape @Bud_Dupree | #UltimateHighlight

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 13, 2020

Just Minkah doing what Minkah does.@minkfitz_21

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 12, 2020

Antonio Brown on why he posted an apology on IG to Ben Roethlisberger. #Steelers

— BTSC Steelers (@btsteelcurtain) February 13, 2020


Download more Valentines:

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 13, 2020


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