Daily Archives: March 6, 2012

Tomlin Comments on the Release of Ward, Farrior and Smith

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin chatted with the Steelers official website about the teams roster moves, cutting ties with veterans Hines Ward, James Farrior and Aaron Smith.

“You try to remove emotion from it more than anything, but that’s a difficult thing to do,” Tomlin said. “These guys have made a lot of plays for us. They’ve provided great leadership. They’ve been significant members of teams that have been very successful. As human beings, we all feel that and acknowledge that. When it comes to making the decision, it has to be football-based, with the building of the team moving forward. So, some of the things I just mentioned that endear them to you are really irrelevant in the hard-core, nuts-and-bolts aspect of moving forward. That’s what makes these decisions difficult, or testy, but it’s just part of this game and it has been and always will be. The wheels will continue to turn.”

On Ward:

“Just an unbelievable competitor. A guy who has unique will within an industry of men who have unique will,” said Tomlin about Ward. “He distinguishes himself in that way. It has been well-documented that his skill at times has not been extraordinary, and he embraces that, but he is a heckuvan athlete. A tremendous player. But I think the thing that separates him from just about every other man who has played in this league during the time he has played in this league is his unique will.”

Tomlin on Aaron Smith:

“A blue-collar, lunch pail guy from day zero to the last day. A guy who has a genuine love affair with the game of football,” said Tomlin about Smith. “All these guys love football. Aaron is one of the guys who loves every aspect of the game – the drudgery, the routine, the team-building, training camp. Aaron has a genuine love affair with the game of football that is unique. He’s the type of guy who is mature enough and has the type of perspective that he can appreciate it while it’s going on. That’s one of the things I’ve always respected about him. Often, guys appreciate it once it’s over. Aaron is one of those guys you acknowledge appreciated it while it was going on.”

Tomlin on Farrior:

“A unique leader,” said Tomlin about Farrior. “You’re talking about a guy in his mid-30s who has a unique ability to build a rapport with all members of a football team. When you’re talking about professional locker rooms, you’re talking about a wide spectrum of guys, guys in different places in their lives. There are guys who are older and married and settled with families, and there also are young guys who are making the transition from dependence to independence, from amateur athletes to professional athletes. James is a guy who has a unique talent to bring all of those people together, guys at different points in their lives.”

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Source: Steelers Gab

Chris Hoke On NFL Bounties: ‘I Never Saw Bounties With The Pittsburgh Steelers’

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Former Pittsburgh Steeler Chris Hoke joined Seibel, Starkey and Miller on Sportsradio 93-7 The FAN to talk about bounties in the NFL and how the players feel about this news coming out.

Hoke said players in the NFL look to hit hard so the opponent won’t want to make plays on you, and the Steelers were always looking to intimidate other teams that way, but he never heard of any bounties with the Steelers.

The Steelers heard of bounties coming from the Ravens locker room and Hoke said if they were doing that they’d be putting themselves out of position, and that would explain why the Steelers usually got the best of them.

We wrapped things up with Hoke making the comparison between Spygate and Bountygate.

Filed under: Football, Heard on The Fan, Sports, Sports Talk Shows, Steelers, Watch + Listen Tagged: Bountygate, Chris Hoke, Dick LeBeau, New Orleans Saints

Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers

NFL Free Agency Rumors: San Francisco 49ers To Make Play for Mike Wallace

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It isn’t a secret that the San Francisco 49ers are shopping for multiple upgrades at wide receiver. After all, it proved to be their undoing in the NFC Championship Game. The fact that their receivers combined for just one catch in that dis-heartening loss proves this point even further.
Sources close to the San Francisco 49ers have indicated to me that they are seriously contemplating signing Mike Wallace, a restricted free agent from the Pittsburgh Steelers, to an offer sheet.
The Steelers, who decided against placing the franchise tag on their star receiver, do not have the salary cap room to match any competitive offer for the restricted free agent. Any team that signs Wallace to an offer sheet would have to give the Steelers a first round pick as compensation if the offer isn’t matched.
A front loaded deal would seem to guarantee that Pittsburgh wouldn’t be able to match the contract. With that said, there are only a handful of teams that need a wide receiver who…

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

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The case for keeping the Big Snack in Pittsburgh

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With so many restructures already in the books for the Steelers, along with all the recent cuts, there’s a solid case for keeping NT Casey Hampton on the team in 2012.  “He’s recovering from ACL surgery” you say? Yes indeed he is, but even given that situation, Hampton could still contribute to the team in 2012.
One of Hampton’s best friends and long time teammate Chris Hoke is now retired, and the only healthy NT on the roster is Steve McLendon, who will be entering his 3rd seeason out of Troy. Even if they do use a premium draft pick on a NT for the future, there’s still no guarantees on how well he’ll do. At the very least they may consider entering training camp with all 3 and then seeing how things go. If said draft pick is ready or McLendon shows he’s ready to take on the job full time, then maybe you consider letting Hampton go. Cutting the big snack ahead of time puts them in a very uncomfortable position and all but forces the…

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

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General manager Colbert: Steelers wouldn’t condone bounties

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Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said the organization does its due diligence in the locker room to make sure nothing like that happens.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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No Franchise Tag Placed On Steelers Wide Receiver Mike Wallace

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — The Pittsburgh Steelers chose not to place their franchise tag on wide receiver Mike Wallace Monday.

In turn, teams around the NFL will have the ability to offer him contract. Wallace is a restricted free agent, and the Steelers will have the chance to match any offer made to Wallace.

Had the Steelers franchised Wallace they would have owed him $ 9.4 million next season. The Steelers will instead tender Wallace by March 13.

Teams have until April 20 to sign Wallace to an offer sheet. Pittsburgh can negotiate a contract with Wallace throughout the free agency process.

Wallace has 170 career catches for 3,195 yards and 24 touchdowns since being drafted in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Ole Miss.

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Filed under: Football, Sports, Steelers Tagged: Franchise Tag, Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers

Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers

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How Many Saints are Left in the NFL?

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In this Friday, Aug. 14, 2009, photo, New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma looks at the scoreboard during a break in the action against the Cincinnati Bengals in an NFL preseason football game in New Orleans. New Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is relying on Vilma to be the field general of a unit that is under pressure to improve markedly in 2009. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Anyone with any interest in football and any access to news whatsover has surely heard about the Saints and the bounty system of financial rewards for damaging hits on opposing players. It is now known to have been supported and encouraged by the coaching staff.

The caption to the photo of Jonathan Vilma at left seems particularly ironic two and a half years later, after the news alleging his personal contribution of $ 10,000 to the bounty pool on Brett Favre. But tempting as it is to excoriate the Saints and assume they were an anomaly, one wonders how widespread the practice really is. From what I’ve read so far bounties appear to be an accepted practice among at least some of the players. From the standpoint of the league the $ 64,000,000 question, (or worse—liability suits can pile up in a hurry) is how many of the other teams encouraged it at the staff level.

Football, to state the obvious, is a game played at high speed by large, muscular and athletic men, and even with the best of intentions people are going to get hurt. But how good are the intentions? Obviously tempers flare from time to time during games—it seems it is hardly a proper game if the refs don’t have to break up a few disputes.

And it should surprise no one to find players seeking revenge in the heat of the moment for crippling hits from the opposite team. As a defensive player your job has just gotten more difficult when somebody takes out one of your important offensive players.

Trash talk of a certain type also seems to invite retaliation. Surely it isn’t coincidence when Rashard Mendenhall gets his collarbone broken in a Ravens game after running off his mouth the previous week.

One regrets such actions, though, even if you happen to consider the instincts as good in themselves. Which I don’t, personally. Although the actions may derive from good impulses (defense of one’s friends/clan, etc.) they are in my opinion inappropriate in the circumstances of a game, even if that game is (cue stirring music) football.

The stakes are just too high. You are looking at the possibility of permanently removing a players’ ability to continue to play, or perhaps even to have a reasonable quality of life. Surely winning isn’t worth that.

One can understand these sorts of emotions during a game. But bounties are different. Actions during the heat of battle are one thing. The calculated pooling of funds to reward hits on star players is quite another. The players being targeted may not even be men who have “offended” in the past—their sole crime is being good at their position.

Not only are bounties unattractive on a moral level, they smack of laziness. It is a lot easier as a general rule to defend the backup QB than the starting QB. It is easier to defend the WRs if the best one is gone. What’s the phrase? “Cut the head off the snake and the body dies.” If this is what you feel you have to do to be competitive, maybe you should get your collective butts into the weight room a bit more frequently.

A bounty system among the players is bad enough. They at least will potentially suffer the consequences of possible retaliation in their turn. When the staff turns a blind eye to such practices, a new low is reached. And when the staff actively encourages this practice and even contributes to it or administers it, as allegedly happened in the Saints organization, there is apparently something deeply flawed in the system.

Others have written feelingly and more knowledgeably about how the league should handle the situation with the Saints. I won’t attempt to add to the litany. I’m more interested in how many other teams are going to get caught in the net.

This article compared the situation to Watergate. The more one looked into Watergate, the farther up the chain one could trace the fingerprints, until the investigation finally brought down the President of the United States. It will be interesting to see just how far the league allows this investigation to go and how many people will be implicated before they dole out a quick punishment to the Saints and hope the case is closed.

The Spygate scandal was a scandal not because the Patriots filmed practices—this was reportedly very common in the league at one time. The scandal consisted in their continuing to do so after being ordered to cease and desist. There’s an interesting correlation here, as apparently the Saints owner ordered the coaching staff to stop the practice of bounties.

This makes one wonder whether the league will find some way to punish the offending staff without damaging the owner. I would think it would be almost impossible to do so. Besides, if the owner knew this was occurring, ordered it to be stopped, and then didn’t make sure it actually stopped, perhaps he should suffer right along with the instigator(s.)

And then there is the stupid factor. The player safety initiatives resulting in rule changes, stricter enforcement of existing rules, and fines/suspensions for players not in considered to be in compliance with said rules makes the whole idea of specifically rewarding damaging hits to be all the more incomprehensible. The league was prepared to annoy the fans and anger the players to minimize damaging hits, or at least a certain sort of damaging hit. There are rules against hits targeting the knees of at least some vulnerable positions, as well as the headshot rules. How on earth could Gregg Williams et al not see it was bound to catch up with them sooner or later?

Roger Goodell has reportedly just issued a memo to the owners (check the sidebar of the linked article) to remind them of the league rules prohibiting such bounties, even among the players. Mr. Goodell also suggested they do a little digging in their own organizations.

As a Steeler fan I hope these practices have not been encouraged in the locker room. And I devoutly and more particularly hope they aren’t abetted by the staff if they do exist. One of the Tomlinisms we heard a lot this past season was “They don’t add style points.” He was happy to “win ugly” if that’s what it took.

But there’s ugly, and there’s just plain wrong. I have no doubt the Steelers know the difference. So did Gregg Williams. His own statement admits we knew it was wrong while we were doing it.”

The question is, did the Steelers and the other teams not currently implicated in the scandal successfully avoid the temptation to fight fire with fire? I sincerely hope so. And I hope this practice will be thoroughly rooted out, however far it has reached. The cost of winning shouldn’t be the selling of one’s soul.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Ward Releases Statement About Release: “I Am Looking Forward to Playing in the NFL Again”

Hines Ward released the following statement today about his release from the Steelers:

“This isn’t how I wanted this chapter of my career to end. I did everything in my power to remain a Steeler and finish what I started here 14 years ago. I want to thank the organization, my teammates and coaches and everyone who made my run as a Steeler the best years of my life. To Mr. Rooney, thank you for allowing me to play for one of the greatest organizations in the world. To my fans and in particular Steeler Nation, thank you for your support and all the great memories. I gave my heart and soul for you every down and I will always bleed black and gold.

“I do feel that I still have more football left in me and I am looking forward to playing in the NFL again this upcoming season.”

Source: Steelers Gab

Ryan Clark says he’s not aware of any bounties, anywhere

Steelers safety Ryan Clark says he has never heard of any bounties being paid for injuring opposing players, anywhere he’s been — including during his two seasons playing for Gregg Williams in Washington. Clark played for the Giants in 2002 and 2003, then played for Williams with the Redskins in 2004 and 2005 before signing…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers

As expected, Steelers wide receiver Wallace isn’t franchised

Instead, the Steelers will place a high tender on speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace that will pay him $ 2.742 million in 2012.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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