Daily Archives: April 10, 2012

In Signing Leonard Pope, Steelers Add a Hero To The Roster

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The lockout before the 2011 season took its toll on many people who rely on the NFL for a living - that's players, coaches, owners, along with writers.

One of the particularly heartwarming stories of the whole lockout ordeal was one of newly acquired Steelers TE Leonard Pope, who, as ESPN's Rick Reilly penned in August, saved a young boy's life because he wasn't at training camp.

As Reilly wrote, Pope was in attendance at a birthday party in Americus, Ga., when a young boy, Bryson Moore, began sinking in a swimming pool.

With Bryson's mother yelling for help, Pope, apparently the only one near the pool who could swim, dove in after the seven-year-old, and brought him back to the surface.

He handed the boy to his mother, who quickly rushed him to the hospital.

Reilly reported Bryson was fine, but Pope had left by the time they returned from the hospital.

Bryson's mom didn't get a chance to thank Pope. She was too busy rushing Bryson to the hospital, where he would check out fine. By the time she got back, Pope was gone. She was so overcome that she stayed up all night staring at Bryson while he slept and thanking God for sending a man like Leonard Pope.

"If I'd had a million dollars," she later told Pope on the phone, "I'd have given it to you right there and then."

It may seem like a nonchalant thing, but it's still a pretty cool story. I'm sure his 6-foot-8 frame helped get him to the bottom of the 9-foot pool in a hurry too.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Steelers sign veteran TE Leonard Pope


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The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed veteran tight end Leonard Pope to a one-year contract. Terms of the deal, announced Tuesday, were not released.

The 28-year-old Pope spent the previous three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, catching a career-high 24 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown in 2011.

Pope was originally drafted in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He played three seasons in Arizona, helping the Cardinals make the 2009 Super Bowl where they lost to Pittsburgh.

Pope will battle second-year player Weslye Saunders and veteran David Johnson for a spot behind starter Heath Miller.

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Steelers sign veteran tight end Leonard Pope


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Pope spent the past three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs after playing for the Arizona Cardinals from 2006-08. He set career highs with 24 catches and 247 receiving yards last season. For his career, Pope has 102 catches for 973 yards and nine touchdowns.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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Steelers Come to Terms with UFA TE Leonard Pope


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The Steelers have inked a new backup tight end, as Ed Bouchette just tweeted that the team has inked free agent TE Leonard Pope.

Steeler fans may remember Pope from Super Bowl XLIII when he caught a one-yard TD pass against the Steelers as a member of the Arizona Cardinals.

Pope was a third round pick out of Georgia in 2006 by the Cardinals. He is a favorite of new Steelers OC Todd Haley, who coached him in Arizona, and also has played with the Chiefs since 2009.

The new Steelers TE is more of a blocking TE, and signing him means that the future for both backup TE’s David Johnson and Weslye Saunders are in doubt.

Johnson is a restricted free agent, but has not yet signed his tender offer from the team. Saunders is suspended for the first four games of the 2012 season for a violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Source: Steelers Gab

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BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 15 — Philadelphia Eagles Select Mark Barron, S, Alabama


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PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 13: A Philadelphia Eagles fan shows his frustration as the Eagles lose to the Arizona Cardinals 21-17 at Lincoln Financial Field on November 13, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

Back-to-back players from 'Bama come off the board! And many thanks go to LV Steelers Fan for the analysis of the cross-state "Dream Team". Next up: New York Jets and they'll be represented by steelers1963.

By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

********************

OK, I'll admit it. I have a soft spot for the Philadelphia Eagles. Maybe it's because I was forced to watch them every Sunday growing up in Allentown, one hour away from Lincoln Financial Field. Or more likely, it's because of the infinite joy they provided me as they caused their fans(i.e. most of my friends) to go through an all-too-predictable roller coaster of emotion each and every year. Before every season, expectations were sky high. This was going to be the year that the Birds finally broke through and ended their 50 year championship drought. Then they would stumble out of the gate and everyone would jump off the bandwagon saying "Same old Eagles" while calling for Andy Reid to be fired and Donovan McNabb to be benched and/or traded. But come November, a magical turnaround would capture the imagination of the Birds' long-suffering fans, and their Super Bowl plans would be back online. Until, that is, the Eagles would lose a game in which they were heavily favored either in the last few weeks of the season or in the playoffs, and my friends would go into spiraling paroxysms of rage and despair. "I knew this would happen all along, this %$ #^@& team never changes!"

Because of this, I was completely unsurprised when the self-proclaimed "Dream Team" had its dramatic flameout last fall. Time after time, the Eagles had their foe on the verge of defeat, only to have their defense collapse and allow a late game-winning score or 4th down conversion. Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Buffalo, Chicago and Arizona all escaped the Eagles' clutches early in the season, and by the time they started looking like the team most had expected to see all year, it was too late.

Defense thus has been expected to be the Eagles' focus in the 2012 draft, and the injury to All-Pro LT Jason Peters doesn't figure to change that thanks to the recent signing of Demetress Bell (who had been going by Demetrius Bell until very recently). Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly was the trendy pick for Philly in practically every mock draft early in the offseason, but their trade with Houston for MLB DeMeco Ryans has given the Birds some flexibility at #15.

Outside linebacker is a definite need for Philly, and both Courtney Upshaw and Zach Brown should be available at their first pick. Defensive tackle is also an interesting possibility, as picking up a Fletcher Cox or Michael Brockers could give the Eagles a fearsome defensive front when combined with Jason Babin, Trent Cole, Derek Landri and Cullen Jenkins. Where the Eagles could really use defensive help, however, is in the secondary, and more specifically at safety. 2010 draft pick Nate Allen has done a creditable job there in his first two seasons, but injuries have been a major problem. The Eagles drafted Jaiquawn Jarrett to play next to him in 2011, and the jury is still out on the Temple product. Getting a stud safety to play next to Asomugha and DRC in the secondary would go a long way towards putting the Eagles' defensive debacles from last season firmly in the past. For this reason...

The Philadelphia Eagles selection in the 2012 BTSC Community Mock Draft is Mark Barron, safety, from Alabama.

Barron was a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide who also played in every game during his freshman campaign, proving himself in the process to be an extremely tough and durable player. He is currently recovering from a double-hernia operation following Alabama's national championship season, and characterized himself as 80-90% at his pro day in late March. His size is superb at 6'1" and 213 pounds, and while his speed is merely adequate for an NFL safety, he runs well. Barron uses his size to his advantage, and has developed into a hard hitter who can still be counted upon to make the tackle after delivering a blow. Not surprisingly, his strength as a safety is his ability to line up inside the box and play the run like a linebacker. This would make him an excellent complement to Nate Allen (assuming Allen can stay healthy), who is known more for his coverage abilities.

Barron's pass defense skills should not be underestimated, however. He intercepted 12 passes in his three years as a starter and has a knack for reading the quarterback's eyes and keeping plays in front of him. He demonstrated good jamming and press coverage skills at Alabama, especially against slot receivers, and proved himself to be intelligent, hard-working, and a student of the game in the film room. Barron has no character concerns, although he was arrested a year ago for a misdemeanor stemming from a car accident in his hometown of Mobile, AL.

All in all, Barron appears to be a great fit for the Eagles. The Birds need safety help and he brings a toughness that has been lacking on the defensive side of the ball in Philly since Brian Dawkins and Jeremiah Trotter were released several years ago. To be a great team in 2012, Philadelphia does not need a great defense. They merely require one that can hold on to leads late in games. Had they done that last year they would have gone 14-2 even with all of their other problems - such as the inability of Michael Vick to remain healthy. Drafting Barron could be exactly what the Eagles and their long-suffering fans need to finally break through and win the city's first NFL championship since 1960.

Mark Barron 2012 NFL Draft Profile (via sbnnfl)

BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 15 — Philadelphia Eagles Select Mark Barron, S, Alabama

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 13: A Philadelphia Eagles fan shows his frustration as the Eagles lose to the Arizona Cardinals 21-17 at Lincoln Financial Field on November 13, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

Back-to-back players from 'Bama come off the board! And many thanks go to LV Steelers Fan for the analysis of the cross-state "Dream Team". Next up: New York Jets and they'll be represented by steelers1963.

By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

********************

OK, I'll admit it. I have a soft spot for the Philadelphia Eagles. Maybe it's because I was forced to watch them every Sunday growing up in Allentown, one hour away from Lincoln Financial Field. Or more likely, it's because of the infinite joy they provided me as they caused their fans(i.e. most of my friends) to go through an all-too-predictable roller coaster of emotion each and every year. Before every season, expectations were sky high. This was going to be the year that the Birds finally broke through and ended their 50 year championship drought. Then they would stumble out of the gate and everyone would jump off the bandwagon saying "Same old Eagles" while calling for Andy Reid to be fired and Donovan McNabb to be benched and/or traded. But come November, a magical turnaround would capture the imagination of the Birds' long-suffering fans, and their Super Bowl plans would be back online. Until, that is, the Eagles would lose a game in which they were heavily favored either in the last few weeks of the season or in the playoffs, and my friends would go into spiraling paroxysms of rage and despair. "I knew this would happen all along, this %$ #^@& team never changes!"

Because of this, I was completely unsurprised when the self-proclaimed "Dream Team" had its dramatic flameout last fall. Time after time, the Eagles had their foe on the verge of defeat, only to have their defense collapse and allow a late game-winning score or 4th down conversion. Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Buffalo, Chicago and Arizona all escaped the Eagles' clutches early in the season, and by the time they started looking like the team most had expected to see all year, it was too late.

Defense thus has been expected to be the Eagles' focus in the 2012 draft, and the injury to All-Pro LT Jason Peters doesn't figure to change that thanks to the recent signing of Demetress Bell (who had been going by Demetrius Bell until very recently). Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly was the trendy pick for Philly in practically every mock draft early in the offseason, but their trade with Houston for MLB DeMeco Ryans has given the Birds some flexibility at #15.

Outside linebacker is a definite need for Philly, and both Courtney Upshaw and Zach Brown should be available at their first pick. Defensive tackle is also an interesting possibility, as picking up a Fletcher Cox or Michael Brockers could give the Eagles a fearsome defensive front when combined with Jason Babin, Trent Cole, Derek Landri and Cullen Jenkins. Where the Eagles could really use defensive help, however, is in the secondary, and more specifically at safety. 2010 draft pick Nate Allen has done a creditable job there in his first two seasons, but injuries have been a major problem. The Eagles drafted Jaiquawn Jarrett to play next to him in 2011, and the jury is still out on the Temple product. Getting a stud safety to play next to Asomugha and DRC in the secondary would go a long way towards putting the Eagles' defensive debacles from last season firmly in the past. For this reason...

The Philadelphia Eagles selection in the 2012 BTSC Community Mock Draft is Mark Barron, safety, from Alabama.

Barron was a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide who also played in every game during his freshman campaign, proving himself in the process to be an extremely tough and durable player. He is currently recovering from a double-hernia operation following Alabama's national championship season, and characterized himself as 80-90% at his pro day in late March. His size is superb at 6'1" and 213 pounds, and while his speed is merely adequate for an NFL safety, he runs well. Barron uses his size to his advantage, and has developed into a hard hitter who can still be counted upon to make the tackle after delivering a blow. Not surprisingly, his strength as a safety is his ability to line up inside the box and play the run like a linebacker. This would make him an excellent complement to Nate Allen (assuming Allen can stay healthy), who is known more for his coverage abilities.

Barron's pass defense skills should not be underestimated, however. He intercepted 12 passes in his three years as a starter and has a knack for reading the quarterback's eyes and keeping plays in front of him. He demonstrated good jamming and press coverage skills at Alabama, especially against slot receivers, and proved himself to be intelligent, hard-working, and a student of the game in the film room. Barron has no character concerns, although he was arrested a year ago for a misdemeanor stemming from a car accident in his hometown of Mobile, AL.

All in all, Barron appears to be a great fit for the Eagles. The Birds need safety help and he brings a toughness that has been lacking on the defensive side of the ball in Philly since Brian Dawkins and Jeremiah Trotter were released several years ago. To be a great team in 2012, Philadelphia does not need a great defense. They merely require one that can hold on to leads late in games. Had they done that last year they would have gone 14-2 even with all of their other problems - such as the inability of Michael Vick to remain healthy. Drafting Barron could be exactly what the Eagles and their long-suffering fans need to finally break through and win the city's first NFL championship since 1960.

Mark Barron 2012 NFL Draft Profile (via sbnnfl)

BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Pittsburgh first for football hall of fame display


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The Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh will be the first stop for a traveling exhibit from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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NFL commissioner Goodell upholds penalties in Saints bounty case

Roger Goodell stuck with his punishments for New Orleans' pay-for-pain bounties, rejecting Saints coach Sean Payton's appeal of a season-long suspension.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


LeBeau facing critical year in 2012

You can hardly blame anyone associated with the Pittsburgh Steelers for talking mostly about the offense during the offseason of 2012. After all, from red zone failures to Bruce Arians’ ‘retirement’ and the eventual hiring of Todd Haley, there has been much to discuss.
I believe there is one guy in particular who has to be downright giddy over this even though he is the coordinator on the other side of the ball. Why might you ask would Dick LeBeau be thrilled that very little attention is being paid to his version of the ‘Steel Curtain?’ Probably because LeBeau knows that anything said about the ‘D’ would not exactly be glowing with accolades right now.
Our last vision of the NFL’s top-rated defense from 2011 was that of Damaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos stiff-arming Ike Taylor as if he were a father stiff-arming his 10-year old son. Thomas would score on that play, the first of overtime and perhaps even worse, the play would set the Tim Tebow fire into an all-out inferno as th...

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers


In the Community – “A Look Back at 2011″ (6 of 8)


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Featured: LaMarr Woodley's Sack Attack, Light Up the Night Walk, Batch's In the Pocket, 65 Roses, Puttin on the Blitz

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