Daily Archives: March 12, 2012
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark was on NFL Total Access Monday evening to serve as a guest analyst and late in the show he sat down with Lindsay Rhodes, formerly known as Lindsay Soto, to talk about the ongoing Bountygate situation.
Rhodes asked Clark if he was interested to see how the New Orleans Saints will be punished and Clark replied, I am. I've actually have been very involved. Obviously through Twitter, I said something that kind of ruffled some peoples feathers. So I am definitely interested to see how its handled. Obviously with Roger Goodell making player safety his legacy, Read more [...]
Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers
Peyton Manning Won’t be the First Future Hall of Fame Quarterback to Finish His Career With a Different team. A Look Back at How Others Have Done
It appears that legendary quarterback Peyton Manning, who was cut by the Colts last week after 14 years, is nearing a decision on a new team. Where will the future Hall of Fame quarterback finish his career?
Will the 35 year old Manning head to Denver and, at least temporarily, put an end to Tebowmania? Will he follow in Kurt Warner's footsteps and head to the desert to play pitch-and-catch with Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals? Or will he stay close to his condo in South Florida and give the Dolphins the first glimpse of a legitimate quarterback since the days of Dante Marino?
It's still anyone's guess at this point.
Manning won't be the first quarterback of his stature to end his career with another team. In-fact, several come to mind. Below, I will give a brief review of how each quarterback's careers ended after they left their signature teams.
You might say that Unitas was the Manning of his day. Playing 17 seasons with the Baltimore Colts from 1956-1972, Unitas passed for just under 40,000 yards and threw 287 touchdown passes. He was also NFL MVP three times and led Baltimore to three World Championships, including Super Bowl V in 1970 at age 37. At the age of 40, Unitas was traded to the San Diego Chargers before the '73 season. There, he started only four games, going 1-3 and throwing for 471 yards, three touchdowns and seven interceptions. Unitas eventually gave way to fellow future Hall of Famer Dan Fouts, and retired from football following that season. Unitas became the first quarterback to pass for over 40,000 yards and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
Namath played for 12 seasons with the New York Jets from 1965-1976 and was known for both his play on the field as well as his partying ways off of it. He is best remembered for his famous quote prior to Super Bowl III, where he guaranteed that his Jets, a member of the then AFL and a huge underdog, would defeat the 15-1 Baltimore Colts of the NFL. Namath backed up his boast, as the Jets upset the heavily favored Colts, 16-7, and helped to legitimize the AFL in what is regarded by many as one of the most important games in pro football history. Namath's final years in New York were sidetracked with injuries, and in 1977, he was waived by New York and signed with the Los Angeles Rams. Namath was unable to overcome his injury problems with the Rams and only played in four games that year before retiring from football for good. Namath was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.
Montana played 13 seasons for the San Francisco 49ers from 1979-1992, passing for over 35000 yards and 244 touchdowns. Montana was named NFL MVP two times and helped lead the 49ers to four Super Bowl titles in the 80's. Montana was voted Super Bowl MVP three times and is only one of two quarterbacks to win four Super Bowls during his career. Due to injury, Montana missed all of '91 and only played in one game in '92 before being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in '93 at the age of 37. Montana played two seasons in Kansas City, going 17-8 as a starter and leading the Chiefs to two playoff victories in 1993--including a come-from-behind overtime win against the Steelers in the wild card round. Montana retired following the '94 season and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.
After a brief stint with the Falcons in 1991, Favre played for the Packers from 1992-2007 and would go on to have one of the greatest careers in NFL history. While in Green Bay, Favre compiled a record of 160-93 as a starter and passed for over 61,000 yards and 442 touchdowns. Favre was voted NFL MVP for three straight years starting in 1995 and helped to lead the Packers to their first World Championship since the 1967 season with a victory in Super Bowl XXXI in January of '97. After much speculation, Favre announced his retirement following the 2007 season. However, after expressing a desire to come back, the Packers eventually traded Favre to the Jets prior to the 2008 season. Favre would lead the Jets to a 9-7 record that year, as he threw 22 touchdown passes and 22 interceptions. Favre again announced his retirement following the season, but instead, returned to play the 2009 campaign with the Packers NFC North rivals, the Minnesota Vikings. Favre turned 40 during the '09 season, but he still had enough in the tank to throw for 4200 yards and 33 touchdowns, as he led the Vikings to a 12-4 regular season record. The Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship game, and Favre had the team on the doorstep of its first Super Bowl berth since January of 1977, before throwing a critical interception at the end of regulation, the Vikings eventually lost to the Saints in overtime. Favre came back for one more season with the Vikings, and he went 5-8 as a starter before officially retiring following the 2010 season. All-in-all, Favre passed for over 71,000 yards and 508 touchdowns in his remarkable career, and, much like Manning, his ticket to Canton is already stamped.
So, where will Manning finish his career, and what kind of success will he have? Will age and the neck surgery that he had prior to the 2011 season force him to retire after only a few games like Unitas and Namath? Will he lead his new team on a playoff run like Montana and Favre did with their new teams?
Or, will Peyton Manning do the unheard of, and not only continue to play at a high-level, but become the first starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different teams?
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
The Pittsburgh Steelers have tendered an offer to restricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace.
The Steelers did not release what the players were tendered, though general manager Kevin Colbert said recently the team would do what it could to keep Wallace. The Steelers have the right to match any offer made to Wallace or would receive compensation if he signs with another team, likely a first-round draft pick.
Wallace made the Pro Bowl after leading the Steelers with 72 receptions for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011. He's one of the NFL's top deep threats with an average of 18.7 yards per reception during his three-year career.
The Steelers also tendered offers to CB Keenan Lewis, S Ryan Mundy, TE David Johnson and offensive linemen Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster.
Colbert was adamant during last month's NFL combine that re-signing Wallace was a priority. The Steelers are thin at wide receiver following the release of veterans Hines Ward and Arnaz Battle and Jerricho Cotchery's free agency.
Wallace said repeatedly throughout the season and in recent weeks through his Twitter account that he wants to remain in Pittsburgh, where he has developed a solid rapport with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and is the leader of a talented young group that includes Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.
If Wallace returns he'll be playing for a revamped coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley replaces Bruce Arians and assistant Amos Jones will coach the running backs while Kirby Wilson recovers from a late-December fire in his home that left him with third-degree burns.
Coach Mike Tomlin said Monday that Wilson's recovery is going well and he expects Wilson to return at some point next season.
''He has surprised the doctors with the rate of recovery,'' Tomlin said of Wilson. ''Obviously, we still have a long way to go, but it has been just awesome to watch him go through this process and see the improvement in him.''
Tomlin is also eager to get to work with Haley, calling it a ''ridiculous bonus'' that the former Kansas City Chiefs head coach was available. Tomlin isn't sure what the offense will look like when Haley is done with it but is eager to watch the process.
''Obviously, I think we need to have a defined personality, but that's centered around playing to our strengths,'' Tomlin said. ''That changes, of course, depending on what our strengths are. Obviously, we have a solid, franchise-type quarterback. We have some emerging outside talent at wide receiver ... Our personality, obviously, is going to be one that is built and geared toward our strengths.''
Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers
The NFL announced Sunday the Salary Cap for the 2012 season is $ 120.6 million, up $ 225,000 from last season. All 32 teams must be under that mark by 4 p.m. ET Tuesday, which is the beginning of the unrestricted free agency period.
Several releases and contract restructures by the Steelers and multiple players have gotten them to a relatively thin amount under the cap, considering tender offers needing to be made to their restricted free agents, as well as the signing of their draft class.
A total of about $ 9 million looks to go to Pittsburgh's restricted free agents, most notably, WR Mike Wallace. He will receive the highest RFA tender, and barring a long-term contract extension, Wallace's cap number will be $ 2.742 million. Gs Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster, FS Ryan Mundy, TE David Johnson and CB Keenan Lewis all will receive original round tenders, meaning, if another team were to sign any of those players to an offer sheet, and the Steelers elect not to match it, the Steelers would receive the team's selection in the round that player was drafted originally. The restricted free agency period begins March 17.
Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider estimates the Steelers will spend another $ 4.45 million on its draft class.
Squirrel away a few more bucks for in-season replacement signings, the Steelers will have to take an "aim small, miss small" approach in free agency. It's not impossible to re-sign WR Jerricho Cotchery, and with the possible departure of Wallace, it, in fact, seems likely. If Wallace was to be signed somewhere else, and assuming the Steelers won't make any immediate moves on unrestricted free agents, they would have the $ 2.742 million slotted for Wallace available. Not all of that would go toward Cotchery, but he clearly would become a priority. If Wallace leaves, the Steelers would have two wide receivers on their roster - Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.
A better option, though, would be to lower Wallace's cap number by signing him to a long-term deal. Spacing guaranteed money out beyond this season and into a four or five year contract could give them the savings needed to keep Cotchery as well as even pursue an affordable nose tackle or offensive guard - two positions needing depth in 2012.
Veteran OT Jonathan Scott and LB Larry Foote would likely be the next up in terms of contracts to renegotiate should the Steelers find themselves in dire straits, but with four days between unrestricted free agency and the start of the restricted free agency period, Pittsburgh can see how the wide receiver market - which includes big names such as Vincent Jackson, Brandon Lloyd and Marques Colston - fairs around the league.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
In case you missed it on Sunday, Aaron Smith put out a full page ad in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette thanking fans for his years with the Steelers.
“As of today, I am no longer a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I leave the field and Steelers with no regrets, and am grateful to have played for such a tremendous organization. I feel truly blessed to have spent my entire professional career in the best town, playing for the most loyal fans who have loved and supported myself and my family.
“The last 13 years of our lives have been special because of the people who cheered me on, and I am truly fortunate to have been a part of the Steelers, the City of Pittsburgh and the Steelers Nation. You have opened your arms and your hearts to us as a family and we will never forget that. Your support, enthusiasm, love and dedication are gifts I
will carry with me my entire life.
“I may no longer be on the Steelers active roster, but I will always be a Steeler and will never forget the people who made it all worthwhile — the fans, the Rooneys, the front office, the equipment guys and trainers, my teammates
and family. Thank you for supporting me over the last 13 years, and I hope you will support me in whatever future path life will take me on.
“We plan on making Pittsburgh our home and I will endeavor for the rest of my days to find a way to thank each and every one of you personally for all that you have done and meant for me and my family. You cheered for me for 13 years and now I cheer for you for the rest of my life. You will always be in my heart, thoughts and prayers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to have the job of a lifetime. You will always be in my heart.”
Source: Steelers Gab
Peyton Manning spent nearly 6 1/2 hours at the Arizona Cardinals' headquarters and training facility on Sunday in meetings designed to lure the superstar to the desert.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
The league informed the 32 teams Sunday that the cap has gone up by $ 225,000. All teams must be under the cap by Tuesday, when free agency begins.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
How about a thousand heartthrobs instead of a thousand pounds in the first three rounds?
This is the third season I have done mock drafts for the Steelers, and I’m pumped. This is an extremely deep draft in the type of talent I’m looking for. And what type of talent are we talking about? I’m drafting BLA, baby!
Best Looking player Available might not be a metric you see every day, but it was the one I chose when I first tried my hand at a mock draft. I don’t watch college football and I wasn’t sure I understood all of the arcane criteria the draft pundits used to grade players, so I decided to come up with my own. I was both surprised and pleased to find this report of a study funded by New Scientist. It concluded "The better an American football player is, the more attractive he is."
Bearing this in mind, let’s take a look at some fine young men who would bring both tangibles and intangibles to the field, and would look mighty good in the Black and Gold while they did it. Like most everyone else’s mocks, I’m going to assume the Steelers stay put and don’t make any trades.
The greatest difficulty in doing these mocks, other than the eyestrain, is the lack of agreement among the draft pundits upon whom I have to depend as to who are the best players. At the top of the draft there is little dispute. Every draft board I looked at had Andrew Luck at #1. Robert Griffin III was #2 in almost every case, assuming they had incorporated the St. Louis/Washington trade into the equation, and Matt Kalil was at #3. After that they often diverged quite a bit. I looked at seven recently updated big boards, and there were 38 different players slotted into the top 25 positions. Obviously some players are going to drop further than anticipated, which may mean a player I’ve eliminated from consideration is actually available to the Steelers. I’m going with the current majority wisdom, though, in the assumptions about who will be available at pick #24 in each round.
There are several needs begging to be addressed in the first round. I began my research by thinking about these needs. Yes, I draft according to BLA, just like the Steelers draft according to BPA. But like the Steelers I’m obviously going to give some positions more weight than others. There’s no point getting my heart set on a fine-looking cornerback or a natty wide receiver when the chances are almost nil he will be drafted by the Steelers. Here are the positions I particularly considered:
Although two recent first-round draft picks are already invested in the defensive line in Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward, NT is a popular position to push for this year. Certainly it will have to be addressed sooner rather than later, but is this the year, or the place, to try to fill the position? Dontari Poe, the man many wanted to see in a Steelers uniform, raised his stock dramatically at the combine. As a consequence, it seems hard to imagine he would make it past the middle of the first round. Jerel Worthy’s stock is rising, and he’s a good-looking young man as well. However, I have a feeling the Steelers are going to wait a year to draft their nose tackle of the future.
Clearly this position must be addressed. Unfortunately for me, the big eaters on the O line aren’t generally the best-looking men in the draft. Unfortunately for the Steelers, it looks like the two best guard prospects, David DeCastro and Cordy Glenn, will be gone. I did notice at least one writer mocking OT Jonathan Martin to the Steelers. Martin is definitely an upgrade, looks-wise, to Chris Kemoeatu, but most people seem to grade him as a top-15 pick.
There are several other options one could argue for here—safety, cornerback, and running back in particular. None of these seem likely to be addressed in the first round. There is only one safety projecting in the first round, and Mark Barron will likely be gone. Cornerback, after being a huge need for so long, is suddenly on the back burner after the Steelers took Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown last year. Especially if they resign William Gay it is hard to see them doing anything but taking a flyer on a late-round guy or a UDFA unless someone really exciting falls to them in a later round. As to running backs, Kevin Colbert et al appear to be satisfied with the current stable, even possibly without Mendenhall for the first bit of the season. So we’ll pass on these three positions, at least in the first round.
Conveniently for me, what appears to be left is ILB. In this recent article I defended taking an ILB in Round 1. The release of Farrior would indicate the Steelers are prepared to address this need in the draft. And this draft just happens to have two highly attractive prospects, if you get my drift.
Luke Kuechley is everything one could ask—high character, great player, and a fine-looking man. The likelihood of him falling to us seems to be extremely low. Fortunately, Dont’a Hightower should be waiting for his Steeler jersey when #24 hits the clock. Everything I read about him says "Steeler," and after studying him carefully everything also says "Momma’s Mock Draft #1 pick." So, ladies of Steeler nation, feast your eyes on this:
You’ll be happy to hear I’m not going to spend nearly as much time justifying later-round picks. I’ll confine myself to relating the virtues of the players who caught my eye.
In the 2nd round it’s time to face the music and look at the offensive line. And facing the music turns out to be simple—because my pick for Round 2 is an accomplished viola player as well as smart, high character, hard-working, and bursting with footbally-type skills. Yes, it’s OT Zebrie Sanders. And along with all of these fine attributes are a couple of intangibles. Given the spate of injuries along the O line in the past two years Sanders’ durability is extremely attractive—as is his endorsement-ready profile. Yes, I think a Steelers uniform would fit him like a glove.
Strangely enough, after eschewing the O line I’m going back to the well to pick up an fine-looking young man with positional flexibility. In fact, his flexibility is perhaps the biggest knock against him, as some say he’s neither fish nor fowl. But with coaches and scouts saying things like "plays until the whistle blows and leaves it all on the field; positive attitude; leadership traits" it seems to me he’s a development project worth taking a flyer on. Have a look at OT/G James Brown:
And that’s it for now. I’m going to have to retire to my couch for a few days with cucumber slices over my eyes before delving into the lower rounds. I'm always happy to remove the cucumber slices for a few minutes to read your comments, though!
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain