Daily Archives: March 2, 2012

Farrior’s Agent Pessimistic On Return To Steelers

PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — Ralph Cindrich, agent of Steelers’ ILB James Farrior, joined The Fan Morning Show Friday to discuss his feelings on recent roster moves by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cindrich believes James Farrior will be cut by the team to help create cap room.

He has advised Farrior to continue working out if he wants to continue playing football.

Click the link below to listen to the full interview:

Filed under: Football, Heard on The Fan, Sports, Steelers Tagged: James Farrior, James Harrison, NFL, Palph Cindrich, Pittsburgh Steelers

Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers

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NFL Network’s La Canfora: It’s Business As Usual For Steelers

PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — NFL Network reporter Jason La Canfora calls in to Vinnie & Cook on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan.

He shares his take on the Steelers releasing James Farrior, Aaron Smith and Hines Ward. He reminds everyone that the Steelers have had to replace great players throughout their history.

La Canfora also tells us the odds that Mike Wallace stays in Pittsburgh, and tells us why he trusts the Steelers’ front office to make the right decisions.

Click the link below to listen to the full interview:

Filed under: Football, Sports, Steelers Tagged: Jason La Canfora, NFL, NFL Network, Pittsburgh Steelers, Vinnie & Cook

Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers

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Steelers To Release Aaron Smith and James Farrior

“Coach Tomlin has talked to both Aaron Smith and James Farrior to let them know we are going to release them prior to the start of the NFL calendar year (March 13),” Steelers President Art Rooney I...

Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : News


Aaron Smith sounds likely to retire

Released by the Steelers after 13 seasons, defensive end Aaron Smith sounds more likely to retire than find another team that will pay him. “We’re celebrating [13] years of having the privilege of playing for the Steelers, and Aaron is celebrating having more time with his five kids and wife. There are no hard feelings,”…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers


Farrior’s Agent Believes Steelers Set To Release Linebacker

*** Discuss this article and more at our Pittsburgh Steelers forum ***

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Another Steelers’ veteran is on his way out of Pittsburgh.


According to the Steelers website
, they will release both linebacker James Farrior and defensive lineman Aaron Smith before “the start of the NFL calendar year,” which is on March 13.

In a statement on the team’s website, Steelers President Art Rooney II said: “Both Aaron and James have given their all during their time in Pittsburgh and we appreciate their efforts and leadership they gave us.”

Farrior’s agent hinted to the news earlier today.

This morning on Twitter, Ralph Cindrich, who is Farrior’s agent, said in part: “#JamesFarrior has been a rock for the #Steelers but the #Turk takes no prisoners-he’s gone.”

This morning on the Morning Show over at 93-7 The Fan, Cindrich said he was pessimistic about the possibility of Farrior returning to the Steelers.

“I think it’s the reality of it all. The Steelers are so far over the cap; he’s done great things here, there’s no doubt that they would like to keep him and that still may come about, but if you were looking at it realistically, the percentages just aren’t there,” said Cindrich. “They’re way over the cap as many know and there are just some problems with trying to retain him.”

Click the link below to listen to Ralph Cindrich’s full interview:

On Wednesday, the Steelers announced that they will release wide receiver Hines Ward of his contract prior to the start of the 2012 NFL calendar year.

Then, on Thursday came the news that the Steelers planned to also release Smith and may also release offensive lineman Chris Kemoeatu.

With the releases of Ward, Smith and Kemoeatu, the Steelers cleare nearly $ 10 million in cap room.

Stay with KDKA for more on this developing story.

RELATED LINKS:
Pittsburgh Steelers
Steelers Release Smith, Kemoeatu (3/1/12)
More Steelers News

Filed under: Football, Sports, Steelers Tagged: James Farrior, Pittsburgh Steelers, Ralph Cindrich, Release, twitter

Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers

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Report: Steelers RB Coach Kirby Wilson Could Be Out Of Hospital Soon

*** Discuss this article and more at our Pittsburgh Steelers forum ***

There has been quite a bit of sad news this week in Steeler Nation as we have seen several long time veteran players such as Hines Ward, Aaron Smith and James Farrior get released, but there is some positive news to report. Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Marcus Gilbert reported via Twitter today that he visited running backs coach Kirby Wilson in the hospital today and said that Wilson looks great, is walking and still smiling like always. Gilbert added that he should be out of the hospital soon as he recovers from burns and smoke inhalation suffered after his house caught fire early in January.

Doctors Read more [...]

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Report: Steelers RB Coach Kirby Wilson Could Be Out Of Hospital Soon

*** Discuss this article and more at our Pittsburgh Steelers forum ***

There has been quite a bit of sad news this week in Steeler Nation as we have seen several long time veteran players such as Hines Ward, Aaron Smith and James Farrior get released, but there is some positive news to report. Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Marcus Gilbert reported via Twitter today that he visited running backs coach Kirby Wilson in the hospital today and said that Wilson looks great, is walking and still smiling like always. Gilbert added that he should be out of the hospital soon as he recovers from burns and smoke inhalation suffered after his house caught fire early in January.

Doctors Read more [...]

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

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‘Pro’s Pro’ Aaron Smith Next to be Released in Steelers’ Offseason of Reckoning

Photo

"Wait, you're going to pay me to go watch the football game and write about what happened?" I asked Cameron Haaland, editor in chief of The Spectrum, North Dakota State's semi-annual student-run newspaper.

Haaland looked at me like I had antlers growing out of my head.

"Yeah," he said. "Go cover the game."

Just like that, a skinny freshman had a way to earn money for beer.

I covered Division II NDSU's first two home games that season, a 23-21 loss to Emporia State (Kan.) and a 16-6 win over Texas A&M Kingsville before the Bison went on the road for their first two North Central Conference games, a 49-28 loss at Nebraska-Omaha and a 44-12 win at Augustana (S.D.).

A rocky start for the Division II powerhouse, and it didn't get any easier with national championship contender Northern Colorado scheduled to visit the Fargodome for the season's fifth game.

Perhaps my youth benefited me as a young buck on the football beat. It afforded me the opportunity to do annoying things to the sports information director like request interviews with assistant coaches from the opposing schools.

Eventually, the SID got me in touch with an assistant coach at UNC, and you couldn't put a gun to my head and demand I remember his name. AlI wanted to know was how good their quarterback, Corte McGuffey, was.

McGuffey would eventually have his number retired, a Harlon Hill Trophy (Division II's Heisman) winner in 1999. A tall task, indeed, for the Bison defense.

After a few youthfully obnoxious questions about his arm strength and his footwork, the coach, very polite and professional, muttered something most likely to get it on record for the sake of re-telling this story later to his colleagues.

"I figured you'd want to talk about Smith."

"Who's that?" I blurted out, while feverishly paging through press releases.

"Aaron Smith's our defensive tackle stud," he said, almost proudly. "Scouts have been watching him."

My jaw nearly hit the table. Scouts? Nevermind this McGuffey guy. I just wanted to hear about Aaron Smith.

Armed with a notebook, a press pass dangling from a Steelers lanyard and every stat sheet the sports information department had put together for the 1998 season, I rushed out Saturday evening to do me some sports writing. I took it seriously. That beer didn't pay for itself.

No one on earth has ever been better prepared to cover a regular season Division II football game, I tell you what.

The seat reserved for the student newspaper reporter was the third to last seat in a 65-seat press box at Fargodome. The two chairs to my left were empty, as were about 35 seats to my right. I felt odd being cut off from the rest of the ink-stained wretches, but I had my soda, my thing of nachos and 200 pages of stats, bios and history from both schools in front of me, so I was doing just fine.

About midway through the first quarter, a short, very athletic younger guy came in and sat in the last seat at the end of the row. He went through the media buffet, probably the only one there who bypassed the nachos and got fruit and a salad. Odd, for this business.

He had on a light yellow polo shirt with a small logo above the left breast. I strained my eyes to see it, widening them as I realized it was the logo of the Washington Redskins.

The scout probably regrets responding to my first question, because I asked him approximately two thousand more over the next 2.5 hours. The topic was Aaron Smith, whom the scout confirmed he was there to see.

I remember him telling me of Smith's potential, and how he'd likely be a base defensive end, not a tackle or a rush end. He used a phrase to describe Smith's possession of certain abilities as "it's there," like, "his footwork is there, his quickness is there."

I was eating this up and asking for seconds.

I asked him what he looked for in a defensive lineman. He said bluntly, "hands." I asked him how Smith's hands were.

"They're there, but not as much as they should be." I dumbly asked him if that meant his hands weren't big enough, and he gave out something of an annoyed laugh, much like older people would do when being bothered by a child.

"How a defensive linemen uses his hands is important in what they do. He needs to be able to shed a block and the best way to do that is to control the blocker. That's done with his hands."

Watching Smith the rest of the game, I paid attention to his hands. They were "there," keep in mind. Having no clue what that meant, I immediately surmised he had the best hand placement of anyone in the game. Pretty sure I even noted that in my article, somewhere in the 1,400 words I used for that story (enough for a case of Keystone Light).

Whatever it was for Smith, it worked that game. He had three tackles - two sacks and a tackle-for-loss - in UNC's 29-16 win over NDSU. Around the midway point in the fourth quarter, the SID brought sheets around for the media to write down the names of people for both teams they wanted to interview.

Everyone wanted to interview the standard home team players, i.e. the quarterback, wide receiver and running back. I put in a request to talk to Aaron Smith. I had covered two games, but no one ever informed me I was allowed to interview players.

Bypassing the team I was being paid to cover, after the game, I headed to the other side of Fargodome to interview Smith, for absolutely no reason than to talk with a guy who may get drafted in the upcoming spring.

Smith came out of the locker room with a surprised but friendly look on his face. Lankier than bulky, but as muscular as the day is long, Smith power-walked over to me, as if he had enough energy to play another game.

It dawned on me at that moment I had never interviewed anyone before, and I had no clue what I was doing.

I reached out my hand, almost as a peace offering, because the speed in which he was moving made me feel like he was about to break down and lay my skinny butt out.

"Hi Aaron, I'm Neal Coolong with The Spectrum at NDSU."

"Hi, nice to meet you."

He didn't shake my hand, he enveloped half of my arm. His hands were "there," all right, enormous and extremely strong. The kinds of hands you could see ripping a phone book in half.

I asked a few of the basics about the game, but then I dropped the bomb on him.

"I sat with a Redskins scout, he said you have a good chance of getting drafted."

Smith stared at me for a quick second, almost as if I said some kind of trigger word which transformed him into the Manchurian Football Player.

"I'm not worried about the draft right now, I'm just playing this season, helping our team win," and blah blah blah. It quickly got awkward, so I switched back to questions about the game, waiting for a chance to re-direct the conversation.

He did it for me, though.

"Steelers fan?" he asked, pointing at my lanyard.

"Absolutely!" I responded. And waited.

He didn't say anything specific after that and I eventually let him go back to the locker room. I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be cool if the guy I just interviewed was drafted by the Steelers?"

Six months later, he was.

I heard "With the 14th pick of the fourth round, the Steelers select, Aaron Smith, defensive end, Northern Colorado."

There may have been trumpets sounding in the background, I'm not sure.

You would have thought Smith and I were best friends, the way I was speaking about him. I mentioned how his hands were "there," and how strong they were. I also mentioned how nice he was, and how the interview he gave me was among the greatest things one human has ever done for another.

Smith was starting for the Steelers in his second year. He started for the Steelers for the next 12 years. In the prime of his career, we saw No. 91 dominate in the quietest way possible. His helmet and shoulder pads humorously looked like toys on his massive frame. At his best, he was unblockable.

Aaron Smith epitomized Steelers football. If Hines Ward and Jerome Bettis were the faces of the team in the early-to-mid 2000s, Smith was the heart. A staple along a defensive line that demonstrated not only the Steelers' defensive dominance during that time, but the emergence of one of the best front offices in all of football. First-round pick Casey Hampton was flanked at nose tackle by seventh-round pick Brett Keisel and Smith. All of whom went to Pro Bowls in their careers.

Smith was the pro's pro. His coaches often lauded his work ethic, labeling as the hardest worker on the team. A quiet, consummate trencherman who constantly drew praises of "underrated" from national media.

We never underrated Aaron Smith. We cried upon learning of his son, Elijah, battling leukemia. We celebrated hearing Elijah's recovery. We cheered Smith's 2004 Pro Bowl season probably much more loudly than he did. We watched him for 13 years represent our team at just as high a level as any player in the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Smith's career with the Steelers will end this year, and he may not play again. Battling multiple injuries over the past three seasons, we look at our battered hero, thinking, "say it ain't so."

The business end of the game, along with simple human mortality, has hit Steelers fans harder this offseason than perhaps it ever has in the history of the franchise. It's sobering, painful even, but regardless of what happens in 2012 and beyond, Smith's release, and that of Hines Ward earlier this week, formally marks the end of the Steelers' Second Dynasty.

That dynasty isn't about winning, although they won plenty. It was about the core group of guys defining championship character and ability.

Aaron Smith defines those guys better than anyone. He defines this era of Steelers greatness. Even if we knew this day was coming for some time now, it still hurts.

My sports writing career rightly ended far before Smith's playing career did, but my interview with a future Steelers legend will always be one of my favorite memories.

If all I got was a "I knew him when" story, that's ok with me. Guys like Smith come few and far in between, but I can't think of a better name-drop story than the first interview I ever did.

Thanks for the time, Aaron, both in Pittsburgh and in Fargo.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain


Roethlisberger calls first talk with Haley “a good start”

Last week, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and new offensive coordinator Todd Haley finally spoke for the first time.  On Thursday, Roethlisberger spoke about it. It started when Haley called Roethlisberger, Roethlisberger didn’t notice the number, and so Roethlisberger didn’t answer the phone.  After he listened to the message, he called Haley back. “It was a…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers

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Hines Ward To Play For Rival Team?

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Shock continues to reverberate throughout Steelers nation about veteran wide receiver Hines Ward being cut from the team.

But there is another thing that could throw Steelers fans for an even bigger loop – Ward could conceivably end up playing for a rival team.

It was almost a full day removed from the end of the Hines Ward era with the Steelers, and the phone lines were still full on 93-7 The Fan’s “Vinnie and Cook” show.

“When somebody leaves like that, I think there is a sadness about it,” said The Fan host Vinnie Richichi.

One thousand career catches, two Super Bowl rings and a style that embodies the Steelers hard-nosed reputation cement the legacy of No. 86.

“He’s just a great football player, so we have to respect that,” said fan Larry Lee. “We definitely gave him enough love here. He gave us love back.”

But could Ward be on one of the buses arriving at the visitor’s entrance at Heinz Field next year, playing for the opposition?

“If he comes strolling back here in a Baltimore uniform, it’s not ‘so what’ for fans,” said Richichi.

“I don’t care if he comes back with Baltimore, New England, or whoever,” said The Fan host Ron Cook.

Playing for another NFL team is one thing. But how would people react to Ward in Ravens purple?

“He just violated right there, he can’t go to the Ravens. He wouldn’t do that. If he did and we lost because of his touchdown? That’s what the Rooneys get,” said Lee.

“I don’t think anyone would like that very much at all,” said Karen O’Donnell of South Hills. “I don’t think it would be a good reception.”

“I don’t even know if the uniform would go on, it might just melt as soon as it touches his body. I don’t think that would fly at all,” said fan Zac Kirkpatrick.

It may all just be a Steeler fan’s worst nightmare, but it is much more possible now than it was 48 hours ago.

RELATED STORIES
Chris Hoke Reflects On Playing Days With Hines Ward
Steelers To Release Hines Ward

Filed under: Sports, Steelers, Syndicated Sports Tagged: 93.7 The Fan, Baltimore Ravens, Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers, Ron Cook, Steelers, Steelers Fans, The Vinnie and Cook Show, Vinnie Richichi

Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers


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