Daily Archives: March 23, 2012
Mike Wallace is the best free agent available right now, but it appears that he’s going to need to lower his asking price significantly if he wants to do anything other than play for the Steelers on the one-year restricted free agent tender this season. That’s the word out of San Francisco, where the 49ers…
Mike Wallace is reportedly looking for a king-size contract, but the Steelers remain interested in signing him to a long-term contract this offseason. That’s the word from team president Art Rooney II, anyway. He told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the team still prefers to get a longer deal done now instead of having Wallace become…
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Hines Ward’s time with the Pittsburgh Steelers came to an end in February. His time in the National Football League came to an end on Tuesday, when Ward announced his retirement.
Ward made the announcement during a press conference at noon. Ward was visibly emotional during the announcement and paused several times to collect himself.
“Today, I came back to Pittsburgh to grant Steeler Nation this one last request. So today, I am officially retiring as a Pittsburgh Steeler,” Ward said.
He thanked the Rooney family, Mike Tomlin, teammates and other members of the Steelers organization, but he also gave a special thanks to the fans.
“Last but not least, to my fans in Steeler Nation, no words can express how much you mean to me. Today is what you mean to me. Thanks for all the love and support throughout the OTAs, minicamps, training camp, injuries, Super Bowls and the lockout, just through it all. You guys have given me the best years of my life and I will never forget that, never. So, as I close this chapter of my life, I want to thank all you guys from the bottom of my heart,” Ward said.
Ward was released by the Steelers last month and he said the outpouring of support from fans around the world played into today’s decision.
“Through it all, I realized there is only one thing I love more than the game, and that is Steeler Nation.”
“For all the fans for years who camped out in the parking lots on game days in the freezing rain and snow, for all the fans who traveled all over the world, nationwide across the country to cheer us on, the ones wearing my jerseys in Denver, New York and even Baltimore and every city that I’ve ever played in, the ones who voted for me for Mirror Ball on ‘Dancing With The Stars’ and the ones I recently saw in the black and gold giving me a shout out on the red carpet at the Oscars, it is truly amazing.”
“Without the support over the past 14 years this game wouldn’t mean the same to me, wouldn’t be as fun for me. You guys meant the world to me. The city and this organization means the world to me. So, today as sadly as it feels to me right now, I hope today will be a good day for everybody here.”
Ward said that there was some interest from other teams around the league to continue his career, but he ultimately could not see himself wearing another uniform.
“As much as I will miss football, my teammates, coaches and everything about the game, I don’t want to play in any other uniform. The black and gold runs deep in me and I will remain a Steeler for life,” Ward said.
Ward was drafted by the Steelers in 1998 and was once one of team’s most pivotal players.
During his career, Ward had 1,000 receptions for 12,083 yards and 85 touchdowns and helped lead the Steelers to wins in Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLIII.
He was also selected to the Pro Bowl four times.
Ward is only the eighth player in NFL history to reach 1,000 career receptions.
Ward developed a reputation for being a hard-hitting blocker and always got up from a hit with a big smile on his face.
At the time of his release from the team, Ward issued the following statement:
“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.”
There was some speculation that Ward would sign with another team, but in the end, Ward ultimately decided to retire as a Steeler.
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Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers
Veteran receiver Jerricho Cotchery, who eventually assumed the Hines Ward role in the Steelers’ offense last year, could be finding a role in the Chiefs’ offense in 2012. Cotchery, per a league source, visited Kansas City on Thursday. An eight-year veteran, Cotchery spent seven seasons with the Jets before joining the Steelers in 2011. A…
The Steelers want to sign wide receiver Mike Wallace to a long-term contract, though team president Art Rooney II said today that he doesn’t know when a deal might get done.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
At a glance, it seemed to be nothing more than the normal lunch time at the Steelers’ practice facility. Based on what then happened about five hours later on that late February day, based on what …
Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : News
Antonio Brown, BLA in Round 6 of the 2010 Steelers Draft…
The Steelers have an impressive record in the first round of the draft since Kevin Colbert became the GM. In fact, according to Cold Hard Football Facts’ assessment of the draft between 2001 and 2010 they have the best record in the league. While the second round isn’t as impressive, they still draft relatively well in the second round.
However, the Steelers have not drafted particularly well in the later rounds. Although they have hit on a few major talents such as Brett Keisel (7th round) and Antonio Brown (6th round) their overall record is not impressive. (If you don’t believe me, watch this space for the final post of my serious draft series. It will be replete with graphs and charts and other nerdy stuff to demonstrate this.)
Which brings me to the point of today’s post. If the final result of all the scouting and visits and so forth is the worst record in the league for the 5th round, (really!), why not try BLA? After all, the Best Looking Player Available is just as easily cut at the end of training camp as the putatively Best Player Available, and provides a bonus in the meantime to the female fan base of which the Steelers are so justly proud.
So with that, here are my picks for Rounds 4 – 7. At this point I’m going to assume any immediate needs were addressed in rounds 1 – 3, as my previous mock did.
Round 4: James Hanna, TE
No contest. While diligently searching for information on Hanna I found a great picture of him after a high school game, posing with his mom and not looking embarrassed about it.
He is tallish, (6’4″,) strongish, (24 reps on the bench press,) was tied with the top TEs in 2012 with a 36″ vertical, and ran the fastest 40 time at the combine for a TE, 4.49. He was second to best in the 3-cone drill and the top performer at the 60-yard shuttle.
He is durable, a hard worker, and has no character issues. He also has a smile to rival Hines Ward’s famous mug, and dark eyes to go with Heath’s dreamy blue ones. He is considered to be a sleeper prospect with “flashes of potential.” Check out this potential:
Round 5: Donnie Fletcher, CB
According to Walter Football, “Fletcher has a nice skill set with a combination of ideal size and quality speed.” According to Momma Football, Fletcher would look great in a Steelers uniform. He has an ideal combination of looks and – well, looks. Unfortunately he has a few knocks against him as a player, as one might expect of a prospect who wasn’t invited to the combine and is unlikely to be drafted higher than the fifth round, but he seems like a good development prospect. And considering how well Carnell Lake has done with the young talent he was given last year, I think Pittsburgh would be an ideal place for Fletcher as well.
Round 6: Dominique Davis, QB
Tim Tebow is going to the Jets. This says it all. Obviously the NFL is becoming not just a passing league but a multiple passer league, and the Steelers need to keep up with this trend. They are letting Dennis Dixon walk, as far as any of us know, and while they have signed Troy Smith, there’s a need for more, and better-looking, QB depth. (Sorry, Mr. Smith. And Lefty…)
But he doesn’t bring just looks. Davis set an NCAA record last October by completing 26 straight passes to open a game. He also set a record for 36 straight completions over a two-game span. This breaks Aaron Rodgers’ college record set in 2004. The offense he ran had some designed runs included. Perfect! Start working on the wildcat, Mr. Haley! And speaking of perfect, check out the picture:
Round 7: David Teggart, K
In footbally terms he holds the UConn career records for field goals (74), extra points (128) and points (349). He was selected for the All-Big East Conference First Team for the 2011 college football season. Character-wise, Teggart has one blot on his books—he was arrested as a sophomore whilst fighting with another member of his team. The other guy was a junior, and a linebacker. So although Teggart doesn’t lack courage, he may lack some sense. He might be willing to tackle if necessary, though, which is always a plus!
Although this picture doesn’t show his face, Google it, ladies. It is definitely worth a second look. This pic shows some of his other attributes:
And here’s a final bonus pick. This assumes another team picks up Keenan Lewis, who was given a third-round tender. Both Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen progressed well last year and may be ready to move up into the number two and three slots. So instead of looking for another CB, I decided to take the BLA for the Steelers’ second Round 3 pick, Mychal Kendricks.
Kendricks had a great combine and has been moving up the boards, but it didn’t take a great combine to demonstrate his BLA potential. “But we don’t need another OLB,” you may moan. No? Well, then, why did Lawrence Timmons have to move outside for most of last year, thus reducing his effectiveness severely?
And that’s it for the moment. If things change radically in the next few weeks there may be an updated version, but if not, see you on April 26th!
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
If the Steelers did have interest in free agent running back Mike Tolbert, that dream is over as word is he has come to terms with the Carolina Panthers.
Tolbert has 341 carries for 1,410 yards and 20 touchdowns with 109 receptions for 1,012 yards and six touchdowns in 59 games over the last four seasons with the Chargers.
There was talk over the weekend that the Steelers were one of the front runners for Tolbert, along with the Panthers. Now the black and gold will go back to having an injured Rashard Mendenhall and trying to make sure they lock up Issac Redmen.
Source: Steelers Gab
The Steelers may or may not have had some interest in free agent RB Mike Tolbert, who inked on Monday with the Carolina Panthers.
The reason behind that interest may have been due to the fact it’s now seemingly more and more like the team may not have the services of RB Rashard Mendenhall in 2012.
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette mentions that “it’s possible Mendenhall may have had his last carry with the Steelers.”
The former first-round back tore his ACL in the regular season finale against Cleveland, and entering the final year of his contract and it’s certainly a possibility that the Steelers could look to move on without him in a year from now.
Bouchette states “sources told me that the Steelers will not count on Mendenhall returning to form until at least the 2013 season.”
It’s hard to gauge what the market for running backs will be like in 2013, but if the recent trends are any indication, it’s safe to assume that he’s not going to land a huge contract, and it very well may not be in Pittsburgh.
Source: Steelers Gab
The Jets stunned the football world yesterday by acquiring the Denver Bronco’s 2010 first-round draft pick Tim Tebow. As is generally the case in matters involving Rex Ryan (and Tim Tebow, for that matter,) a great deal of controversy was created in the process.
But ready or not, New York City is about to become Tebow Central. One wonders why, of course. There is a legitimate question as to why the Jets would care to pick up another QB. They just signed Mark Sanchez to an extension—the largest contract in the franchise’s history. They drafted QB Greg McElroy, in the 7th round of the 2011 draft, and just signed Lions backup QB Drew Stanton to a one-year $ 1.25 million contract. They seem to be overflowing with QBs and short on cap room.
Not all of their players are on board with the idea, either. Antonio Cromartie tweeted his displeasure at the idea. “Y bring in when we need to bring in more Weapons for @Mark Sanchez let’s build the team around him. We already signed to 3 year ext.” But loath as the Jets management must be to annoy Cromartie, the deal is done.
What the world is wondering is how the Jets plan to use Tebow. But shouldn’t it be obvious? With Tony Sparano as the new OC, clearly the Jets are developing a nuclear-powered offense built around a sort of hyper-wildcat. I firmly expect the Jets to further rock the NFL world at the 2012 draft. They gave their 4th and 6th round picks to the Broncos as part of the Tebow deal, but picked up a 7th rounder. I think the draft will go down something like this:
1st Round (Pick #16) Michael Floyd, WR
2nd Round (Pick #47) Brock Osweller, QB*
3rd Round (Pick #78) Orson Charles, TE
5th Round Aaron Henry, FS
7th Round Vontaze Burfict, LB
7th Round (from Denver) Jordan Jefferson, QB**
* [From Walter Football] – Osweiler is big-armed pocket passer who has surprising mobility. The former basketball player has good athletic ability for being so tall… As a junior this year, Osweiler completed 63 percent of his passes for 4,036 yards with 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also ran for 298 yards and three touchdowns. Osweiler set the school record for yards, completions and attempts. In 2010, he had only two starts, but played well, throwing for 797 yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions while also running for 168 yards and a score.
** [From Walter Football] – Jefferson does not have the skills to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but he could be a backup who contributes in a wild-cat set… For the season, he completed 61-of-100 passes for 737 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. Jefferson also ran for 360 yards and three scores.
Are you getting the picture now? I don’t believe the Jets will address their offensive line woes because they aren’t really going to need a line. Nor will they bother to replace or supplement RB LaDainian Tomlinson, because that role will be taken by any and all of the QBs.
Sparano is going to field a center, two guards, two or three WRs, one or two TEs, and a minimum of three QBs. Opposing defenses will be in chaos as they try to decide who is going to be the target of Sanchez’s throw—a receiver or one of the other QBs. Or Sanchez, who can run well enough himself, might just keep the ball. Tebow might take the snap, run it, or toss it to, say, McElroy, who might throw it back to Sanchez. Numerically the possible combinations are large enough to give a headache to the defensive captain of the opposing team. Stick eight in the box and somebody will throw the ball eventually. Hang back and somebody will run it. It’s practically indefensible.
Yes, Ryan has done it again. Just when the NFL thought he was going to shut his mouth and just coach, he’s getting ready to unleash an offensive scheme no one is prepared for. I firmly predict the Super Bowl declarations will begin the day after the draft is over.
Thank heavens for Ryan and the Jets. Otherwise we would have nothing to talk about but Peyton Manning and the Saints. I expect the Saints are grateful for the reprieve. In fact, maybe someone should look into this and see whether any clandestine contributions were made to help the Jets pay their half of the $ 5 million Tebow is owed this season. Where’s Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein when you really need them?
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain