Daily Archives: March 18, 2012

Manning works out for Titans

Titans general manager Ruston Webster says that Peyton Manning has worked out for the team in Knoxville.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Beth Center MVP heads to Baldwin-Wallace

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Jake Sofran, a four-year starting fullback and linebacker for Beth Center High School, will attend Baldwin-Wallace College, an NCAA Division III school in Berea, Ohio.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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Hampton gives Steelers more than $3 million in cap space

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When the Steelers embarked on their cap-slashing exercise earlier this year, nose tackle Casey Hampton was at the top of the list.  Unlike one of the various players who restructured contracts and ultimately gave up no money (and unlike Hines Ward who was cut without negotiation), Hampton took a significant pay cut in order to…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers

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Starkey: Steelers way works

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The Steelers find star players in April, not March. Despite low draft positions — they haven’t chosen in the top 10 since 2000 — they accrue winning talent, develop it and pay it.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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Former Pitt QB Stull to rejoin Power

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Power owner Matt Shaner said the Arena Football League team has signed former Pitt quarterback Bill Stull to a contract, and he will be introduced at a news conference Monday.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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Draft offers Steelers options to shore offensive line

The question for the Steelers — even if Willie Colon returns better than ever — is how much they will address a perceived deficit on their offensive line.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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Mike Tolbert Watch Turned into a Mike Tolbert Warning

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Anyone who jumped immediately at the thought of Chargers RB Mike Tolbert signing with Pittsburgh in free agency must feel kind of foolish today.

Those publications know who they are.

Tolbert, a talented power back, fits the Steelers mold in the sense he runs hard and he wasn’t drafted. The real difference, though, is Tolbert wants to get paid. The recent trend in Pittsburgh doesn’t center around paying running backs a whole lot, and sticking with the idea they can find productive players in the undrafted free agency realm, not the unrestricted free agency realm.

Obviously, Rashard Mendenhall being a first-round pick is the exception to this rule, but it’s instructive to point out he’s in no way a lock of receiving a high dollar extension with the Steelers. The guy who will carry the slack early in the season as Mendenhall recovers from a torn ACL is Isaac Redman, an undrafted free agent from 2009. There’s Jonathan Dwyer, a sixth-round pick in 2010. And John Clay, a 2011 undrafted free agent, who joins Baron Batch, a seventh-round pick from that same year.

Mewelde Moore has been a part of the system for four seasons, and is a free agent. Are the Steelers going to cast off a veteran who’s proven to be effective on this team for an injury-prone free agent who will probably cost more?

None of the purely speculative report that surfaced when San Diego Union-Tribune writer, Kevin Acee, tweeted Tolbert was “expected to land” in Pittsburgh.

This is really no different than the report suggesting Bears TE Kellen Davis was a possible target for the Steelers. I’m sure that’s what Davis’s and Tolbert’s agents want people to think.

It doesn’t matter to Pro Football Talk, though, who, through “writer” Evan Silva, stepped up the speculation with a headline “Chargers may not re-sign Tolbert, who may head to Pittsburgh.”

The story itself didn’t reveal any new information (not surprising from that site), but the headline, combined with Acee’s tweet, set SteelerNation abuzz with the possibility of a new player.

Nevermind the lack of precedent for such a move, or a backfield chock-full of younger backs, all of whom (except Batch) got carries last year due to injuries, and performed well. Nevermind the salary cap limitations the team is up against, or the lack of contract for WR Mike Wallace, GM Kevin Colbert’s proclaimed top priority of free agency.

Acee tweets later his opinion was Tolbert would end up in Pittsburgh, again not referencing a source, in name or otherwise, strongly indicating his opinion was just that; an opinion.

At this point, the Steelers are leading a contest they’re not participating in, and the seed Turner’s agent planted is thriving.

Until the dark cloud that is Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette intervenes.

Now, Silva writes another non-story story, making perfectly clear he was not the one who reported the news. He does point out there was some rationality behind a Steelers and Tolbert marriage, but takes no responsibility for the increased amount of speculation. He does throw Acee under the bus, though.

Acee may have been misled regarding the Steelers’ alleged interest.

It’s almost comical now. Acee wasn’t the only one misled, Mr. Silva. You may not have broken the story, but your report of his words shows you bought into the information as well. Just admit you got suckered, it’s ok.

I get what Pro Football Talk is trying to do, and it appears Acee was, in fact mislead. It happens. The problem comes in the strength of the language Silva uses in his report, and the lack of attribution to a source on Acee’s report.

Pro Football Talk will never be caught dead picking up a phone to try to confirm a story like this, or doing any kind of reporting of their own. It’s certainly not rare in the illustrious world of Internet writing. The point I’m making is it takes three groups to create speculation: An original source, the inevitable re-treaded report from a second source, and throngs of fans who believe whatever anyone is writing.

And yes, I’ll return for a mea culpa if Tolbert does sign in Pittsburgh. But here’s some free speculation based on several areas writers who cover the NFL should not miss; they aren’t interested because they don’t have money and they don’t need him.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Hines Ward Is Selling His Atlanta Mansion. Photos Included.

In our article here, we envisioned a scenario in where former Pittsburgh Steeler WR Hines Ward could end his career out in his hometown of Atlanta, GA.
We knew it was a long shot but hey it’s the NFL. The Falcons recently let WR/KR Eric Weems slide over to Chicago yet they brought back slot man Harry Douglas. 
But those moves are not the only thing that put a pin in that balloon. Ward is selling his Atlanta mansion for $ 7.5 million dollars.
Please click the link to read the rest of this article that includes quotes from Hines’ real estate manager and to see photos of his mansion.

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

Mike Tolbert Coming to the Steelers?

The Steelers may have a new running back coming to town, as with Rashard Mendenhall’s 2012 season clearly up in the air, the team may get San Diego free agent RB Mike Tolbert.

Kevin Acee of the SD Tribune reports that the Steelers and Panthers are the two front runners to get Tolbert, a back who last season rushed for 490 yards and 8 TD’s for the Chargers.

Tolbert puts up 4.1 yards per carry, and has been in the league for four seasons. His best year came two years back when he ran for 735 yards and 11 scores.

He can greatly put Steelers fans at ease about the RB situation. If the Steelers can get Tolbert, it would be a great insurance policy if Mendenhall isn’t ready to start the season.

Tolbert met with KC on Thursday, but that won’t happen since they inked former Browns RB Peyton Hills. It seems like the Steelers and Panthers are by far the two best fits for Tolbert’s services.

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Source: Steelers Gab

First Round Draft Picks Aren’t Always Worth Their Weight in Gold

Former NFL players pose for photographs with NFL Draft prospects before the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday, April 22, 2010 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

A couple of years ago, during a radio show about the NFL Draft, one of the hosts said that he enjoyed the draft more than the Super Bowl. I found that to be pretty peculiar because isn’t the draft just a means to the ultimate goal of winning a championship?

But I know where that person was coming from; some people are just simply enamored with draft talk.

I used to be that way. Heck, when I was a kid, I couldn’t get enough of the draft, and I thought every player the Steelers picked was going to make the team and be an All-Pro for 10 straight seasons.

The height of my obsession was probably around 1989, which just so happened to be one of the rare occasions that the Steelers had two first round draft picks. Mike Merriweather, the team’s disgruntled Pro Bowl linebacker, sat out the entire ’88 season in a contract dispute, and the Steelers eventually shipped him off to the Vikings in exchange for their first round draft choice.

The draft choice that the Steelers “earned” with their poor ’88 campaign–the 7th overall– was used to select running back Tim Worley out of Georgia. Worley was a bust and out of the league within a few years. The pick that the Steelers received from Minnesota–the 24th selection in the first round–was used to select offensive tackle Tom Ricketts out of Pitt. Ricketts was also a bust and off the team after the ’91 season.

In all fairness to the Steelers, it was quite obvious that they weren’t going to be able to meet Merriweather’s demands. An extra first round draft choice seemed like a pretty fair solution. The Steelers were 5-11 in 1988, so they certainly needed to upgrade in many areas. Unfortunately, things just didn’t work out.

Sometime in the early 90’s, right around the time that free agency started in the NFL, there was speculation that Rod Woodson could leave the Steelers as a restricted free agent. As compensation, the team would receive an extra first round draft choice.

My brother and I had many conversations about who the Steelers would use their potential extra pick on and how it would help the team.

If I had a time machine and could go back to that point and interrupt that conversation, I might say something smart like, “Gee, I don’t know who they could get. Do you think they’ll pick someone who will go on to have a Hall of Fame career and be named to the NFL’s All-Time team?” If my memory serves me right, Woodson never did become a restricted free agent, but he did eventually leave the team as an unrestricted free agent following the ’96 season. Did the Steelers make a mistake by letting Woodson go without receiving any compensation? I doubt it. No player they would have selected with a compensatory draft choice could possibly have matched Woodson’s talent and accomplishments. When you have a player like that, you hold onto him for as long as possible.

Two seasons ago, Ben Roethlisberger was going through his much publicized offseason problems, and there was much speculation about whether or not the Steelers should just part ways with their Super Bowl winning quarterback. Some of my friends were almost salivating at the thought of getting a top 10 draft choice in a trade for Roethlisberger.

There were rumors that the Raiders were interested in Big Ben, and that they would trade the 8th overall pick in the 2010 draft AND all-world cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha in exchange for the troubled passer. That would certainly have been a pretty decent return if the team was looking to start over, but would any amount of talent be enough to replace an elite quarterback?

Those guys don’t come along every day, ya know? Just ask the Dolphins and Broncos–two teams who are still trying to replace franchise quarterbacks that retired over a decade ago.

The Steelers didn’t make a deal with Oakland, and the Raiders took linebacker Rolando McClain out of Alabama with the 8th pick. Asomugha played another year in Oakland and then became a part of the “Dream Team” when he signed with the Eagles prior to the 2011 season. I don’t know if McClain is going to be the next great linebacker, and who knows if the Steelers would have been able to sign Asomugha, who only had a year left on his contract. But I doubt either would have been as valuable to Pittsburgh as Big Ben was two seasons ago when he led the Steelers to their third Super Bowl appearance since 2005.

There was also speculation leading up to the 2010 draft that the Steelers would ship Roethlisberger off to St. Louis in exchange for their first round pick–the number one pick in the draft–and then draft quarterback Sam Bradford out of Oklahoma.

That would have been logical. If you simply must get rid of a troubled franchise quarterback, what better way to start over than with another potential franchise quarterback?

But it’s not easy to find an elite quarterback who has what it takes to lead a championship team; it’s rare that an Aaron Rodgers can step in and replace a Brett Favre and immediately lead his team to a Super Bowl title.

For every Peyton Manning, there are at least two Ryan Leafs.

Big Ben has proven to be invaluable to the team’s recent Super Bowl era. Sam Bradford is still very much a work in progress.

The Steelers rarely find themselves in these types of discussions because they’re not big players on draft day. But this year, with the possibility of restricted free agent Mike Wallace signing an offer sheet that the Steelers may not be able to match, there is a chance that the team might have to part ways with the speedy receiver in exchange for an extra first round pick.

Just the other day, my brother and I had a discussion similar to the one that we had many years ago about Rod Woodson. However, this time, my brother was a little more excited about the possibility of that extra draft choice than I was.

Yes, the Steelers have had success drafting in the first round in recent years. And yes, they might replace Wallace with the next Jerry Rice. Heck, they could go in a completely different direction and find the next Rod Woodson.

But they could also draft the next Troy Edwards or Chad Scott. The point is, it’s not going to be easy to replace a guy with Wallace’s abilities.

I’m not saying the Steelers should hold on to Wallace at any cost. If the asking price is too high, they should absolutely let him leave and take their chances with an extra first round pick.

The Steelers organization is better than most NFL teams at seeing the big picture. Pittsburgh answered the losses of Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes in recent years with Super Bowl success. If Wallace has to go, who says they won’t be able to do it again?

That radio draftnik from a couple of years ago is probably hoping the Steelers find themselves with two first round picks this year; that certainly would make draft day a little more exciting for him and the other draftniks out there.

However, after seeing the Steelers have so much playoff and Super Bowl success in recent years, I’m not as enamored with the draft as I used to be.

It’s still exciting and fun to talk about, but I guess I’ve become more a fan of the finished product than I am of the building blocks.

I’m a rational Steelers fan who realizes that the Steelers are one of the best organizations in all of sports, but it’s not always easy seeing Pro Bowl players walk away in their prime.

A first round draft choice might seem like fair compensation for a departing Wallace– the jury is still out as to whether he’s a franchise wide receiver–but that doesn’t mean the Steelers won’t be a weaker team, at least in the short term.

An extra first round pick might be fun and exciting, but it doesn’t mean that things will work out. Sometimes, what’s behind door number 2 isn’t always a new car.

Just ask the ’89 Steelers.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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