Daily Archives: May 22, 2012

David DeCastro and Mike Adams Will Not Attend OTAs Due to NFL Rule


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I had written after the draft Steelers rookie OG David DeCastro would be able to attend the Steelers Organized Team Activities (OTAs), which begin Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

I was wrong, DeCastro will not be able to attend OTAs because of a completely nonsensical NFL rule prohibiting rookies to practice with their pro teams until the academic calendar year of the school they attended is over. All rookies can attend their team's rookie minicamp, which both Adams and DeCastro did.

I ran the report using logic, which was my first mistake. The fact DeCastro graduated in December, and did not attend classes of any kind (including graduate school) in the third or fourth quarters at Stanford led me to believe he would be exempt from the rule, which is in place to vainly stem the tide of underclassmen declaring for the draft and skipping out on classwork in the second semester of the year.

The amount of reasons why this rule is ridiculously stupid and out-of-date exceed my target of words per post, but I'll dive into a few of them.

First off, it's another rule that exists solely because it hasn't been legally challenged. Let's step past the fact DeCastro remains unsigned as of Sunday. If he was, the NFL and the NCAA have essentially a handshake agreement to not allow professionals to begin their jobs for the sake of keeping them in school. While in a small percentage of cases, this does make some sense, there is absolutely no reason why DeCastro should be held to this rule. He is no longer a student of Stanford University. He is an alumnus. He fulfilled the academic requirements for a degree, and is probably fielding calls from the school asking for money as I write this.

What difference does it make if Johnny Stanford Student has tests to take in June? While it seems trivial in the grand scheme of things, the fact is he's soon to be officially a professional football player. How is it the NFL's right to deny him the start of his career until the school he hasn't attended since December hasn't let out for the summer?

The initial impression we've gotten from DeCastro is he is an all-business all-seriousness all-the-time kind of guy. He wants to get out on the field and learn how to play at the pro level with his teammates. Even if it is just OTAs, he should be allowed to do that.

He is no longer under scholarship. The school provided him with nothing outside the use of their facilities for workouts and his pro day. But the school, as well as his future employer (the NFL) prevent him from starting his post-college career.

I reported Adams wouldn't be able to attend, just like Ohio State alumni (using that term loosely) Santonio Holmes and Cameron Heyward, first round Steelers draft picks, and every other former OSU player who is drafted or gets signed to an NFL team's roster. That makes little more sense, with the only difference being Adams did not graduate.

Why must we continue to feed the false notion a young man of Adams' ability is in college to earn a degree? Why does he have to perpetuate the facade that Ohio State University, or any other major college football program, exists to give him an education?

He's there to help ensure alumni dollars continue to roll in and keep the stadium seats full. Adams, in turn, gets a hardcore education in his future career as a professional football player.

It's ok to simply call it what it is. Gone is the era of the Academic All America who wins the Heisman Trophy and weighs whether to go to medical school or play professional football. Adams signed a contract that is going to pay him $ 500,000 a year for the next four years. If he does well, he will easily make 10 times that amount. If he doesn't, or he gets injured, he can go back to school, or generally do whatever he wants.

Those are facts. Ironically, the best job a guy like Adams can get, a pro athlete, does not require a college degree (according to NFL bylaws, a player doesn't even need to attend college), so why should any of those prospective players be prevented from starting that career because their former classmates still have papers to write?

The worst part of this is no one can provide a valid answer to that question. I can't even find where this rule is written. It's not in the NFL bylaws, which I read top to bottom in researching this column.

All of this strongly suggests it's a rule without any meaning; kind of like the Simpsons' hometown of Springfield have a rule on the books requiring ducks to wear long pants (4F15).

The problem is, even the mythical and dysfunctional town of Springfield doesn't enforce the ducks wearing long pants law. It's not clear why the NFL enforces their rule, but I will use less logic when writing in the future.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Steelers Organized Team Activities (OTAs) Begin Tuesday in Pittsburgh


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Big Blue View editor Ed Valentine does a great job in summarizing the specifics of what OTAs are, and what Steelers fans can expect to happen at the start of Phase One of OTAs, which is set to begin Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

The main goal of Phase One is based around conditioning and rehabilitation. In other words, this time will mostly be spent with strength and conditioning coaches conducting variations of track practice or military basic training.

OTAs are broken into three phases, and per the CBA signed Aug. 4, 2011, they are defined thusly:

Phase One

Phase One shall consist of the first two weeks of the Club's offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in S ection 5 of this Article, Phase One activities shall b e limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only. During Phase One, only full-time or part-time strength and condi­tioning coaches, who have no other coaching responsibilities with the Club, shall be
allowed o n the field; n o other coaches shall b e allowed on the field or to otherwise par­ticipate in or observe activities. No footballs shall b e permitted to be used (only "dead ball" activities), except that quarterbacks may elect to throw to receivers provided they are not covered by any other player. Players cannot wear helmets during Phase One.

Conditioning is important, and unfortunately, the only news that comes out of this phase of OTAs involves injuries. This is why it's key players maintain good conditioning in the time leading up to OTAs.

During this time, players aren't allowed any access to position coaches or coordinators, and the players themselves more or less run drills without coaching. They may run seven-on-seven passing drills or work together on footwork and technique.

Phase Two

Phase Two shall consist of the next three weeks of the Club' s offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Section 5 of this Article, during Phase Two all coaches shall be allowed on the field. On-field wor­
kouts may include individual player instruction and drills, as well as "perfect play" drills (e.g., offense or defense only, but not offense vs. defense), or special teams drills on a "separates" basis (e.g .. , kicking team or return team only, but not kicking team vs. return team). No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted. No offense v s . defense drills are permitted (e.g .. , no one-on-one offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump­ and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are p ermitted.) Players cannot wear helmets during Phase Two.

Phase Two for the Steelers is May 29-31.

Phase Three

Phase Three shall consist of the next four weeks o f the Club's offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Subsec­tions 5 (a) and 5 (c) of this Article and Appendix G to this Agreement, during Phase Three each Club may conduct a total of ten days of organized team practice activity ("OTAs" or "OTA days"). The restrictions set forth in Subsection 5 (b) of this Article shall not apply to OTA days. The Club may conduct a maximum of three days of OTAs during each of the first two weeks of Phase Three. A maximum of four days of OTAs
may be conducted during either the third week or the fourth week of Phase Three, with the Mandatory Veteran Minicamp (Article 22, Section 2) to be held during the other week. During weeks in which the Club conducts only three days o f OTAs, the Club may also conduct a fourth day of non-OTA workouts, but such activities shall be subject to the rules governing Phase Two workouts, as set forth in Subsection 2 (b)(ii) of this Ar­ticle. During Phase Three, all coaches shall be allowed on the field. No live contact is permitted. No one-on-one offense vs . defens e drills are p ermitted (i. e . , no offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump-and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted). Special teams drills (e.g., kicking team vs. return team) are p ermitted, provided no live contact occurs. Team offense vs . team defense drills, including all drills listed in Appendix G to this Agreement, are p ermitted, provided no live contact occurs. Clubs may require players to wear helmets; no shells are permit­
ted during Phase Three of the Club's offseason workout program or any minicamp.

Phase Three for the Steelers is June 4-7.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Players happy to be back at work


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It was back to work for the Steelers on Tuesday at the first day of OTAs at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex on the South Side, and it was a packed house, with the majority of the veterans on ha...

Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : News

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Steelers WR Antonio Brown: ‘We’re Gonna Need Mike Wallace’

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown took part in Tuesday’s OTA session, then he called in to Vinnie & Cook on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan.

He is happy to be back on the field, and he talks about how he plans to build on a season in which he was named team MVP.

Antonio shares his thoughts on Todd Haley’s new playbook, how the locker room looks without some of their old leaders, and what he makes of the Mike Wallace situation.

Filed under: Football, Heard on The Fan, Radio.com - Sports, Sports, Steelers, Watch + Listen Tagged: Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers, Vinnie & Cook

Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger: No trouble with Todd Haley


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The Steelers gather for the start of organized team activities on Tuesday and all eyes will be on the offense. It’s the first time new offensive coordinator Todd Haley will get to work with the entire offense on the field and the first time that we’ll see what kind of changes he plans after taking…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers

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Pittsburgh Steelers Pre-OTA Projected Opening Day 25-Man Offensive Roster


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The Pittsburgh Steelers will open their first OTA on Tuesday and the team will get a first look at new offensive coordinator Todd Haley and his offense on the field. For some, it will also be the first time that they can start catching the staff’s eye and possibly earning a coveted roster spot.
Unfortunately, the opening day roster is only made up of 53 players. Some will not make it out of OTA’s or mini-camps and will not be able to realize their dream to play in the NFL with the Steelers or even fight for one of those. While every person going into these offseason workouts has at least a punchers chance, many already see the writing on the wall, making it somewhat easy to project the opening day roster.
Below is the first complete look at the 25 men, who we project will make the final 53 man roster on offense (although, Max Starks will take a spot if he is recovered from his ACL injury and resigned). The breakdown is 10 offensive linemen, five running backs, five wid...

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Around The AFC North: Ravens And Running Back Ray Rice At A Contract Impasse


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This offseason has been interesting, to say the least, for every team in the league. While the Bengals have been adding quality players for reasonable prices, along with a superb draft, one of their divisional foes has been facing an uphill battle all offseason.
The Baltimore Ravens have had a rough go of it so far. First, they lost Pro Bowl guard Ben Grubbs to the New Orleans Saints through free agency. Then Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles' tendon and is likely out for the season, even though he has declared he will play during the 2012 season. Baltimore has already lost two of its biggest forces on offense and defense. And there could an ongoing saga with running back Ray Rice and his contract.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Ravens and running back Ray Rice have not made any progress towards a new contract.

Follow @AdamSchefter Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter Despite the fact that both sides continue talking, the Ravens and Ray Rice have not ...

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Best NFL Players List Vary Quite a Bit, But Still Name Multiple Steelers Players

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CBS Sports writer Pete Prisco does a "100 Best NFL Players" each season, eschewing "conventional lists" in favor of, what Prisco calls it, "based on eyes, ears and hours of watching tape."

Those who follow Prisco on Twitter may have enjoyed his frequent and semi-light hearted battles with Pro Football Focus, a web site dedicated to providing measurement reflecting a player's individual success on individual plays.

It's tough to tell which side - if either - is right, but Prisco's list differs greatly from PFF's, which is perhaps a good thing. Either way, Steelers SS Troy Polamalu, QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Mike Wallace and OLB James Harrison made the lists of both Prisco and PFF.

Polamalu, 39th with Prisco and 33rd with PFF, had the highest combined ranking, although Prisco's explanation is, essentially, he's a good player, but he's overrated. If he's overrated but still the 39th best player - including quarterbacks - in the game, it's interesting to fathom where Prisco is hearing he's noticeably better than where he ranked him.

Roethlisberger, 16th with Prisco and 48th with PFF, brings a bit more disparity. One would expect Roethlisberger's rating to increase in PFF's databases with a bit more rushing yards - their system boosts running quarterbacks simply because they make plays, not an unfair measurement - and Roethlisberger didn't exactly scramble much in 2011. Prisco's high ranking is due to what he feels is his clutch performances, and should be worth noting, doesn't base solely on last season.

Wallace, 57th with Prisco and 63rd with PFF, is probably considered much higher by both if the list was made at the middle of last season. Prisco calls him out for it but points out he feels Wallace will be much higher next year.

Harrison, 99th with Prisco and 68th with PFF, clearly is evaluated as two separate players. To PFF's credit, he gets far more respect for his run-stopping abilities, something that seems lost on most sack-happy national media members (i.e. Clay Matthews, who's ranked 31st and 38th, respectively).

OLB LaMarr Woodley ranked 80th in Prisco's poll, but unranked by PFF, likely due to his lack of snaps in 2011, and a mediocre 1st quarter of the year. Tough to say he's not one of the best in football, though, if you watch Weeks 5-8.

WR Antonio Brown was ranked 60th by PFF, but not ranked at all by Prisco. Easily the best combination of receiver and returner in 2011, it's difficult to suggest he's not one of the better all-around players in the league.

Curiously, RB Isaac Redman did not make the list. In a word, "Hate."



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Roethlisberger On Haley: ‘There’s No Trouble Between Us’


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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Steelers begin their OTA’s or organized team activities Tuesday at their South Side headquarters.

Monday, many members of the team and coaching staff were at South Pointe golf club for the annual Cancer Caring Golf Tournament hosted by Hines Ward, Max Starks and Merrill Hoge.

Golf was on the agenda, but football on their minds as the OTAs will get the offense together for the first time with new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

“People blew it way out of proportion,” Ben Roethlisberger said. “It’s something new, we’re getting to know each other … There’s no trouble between us at all.”

“Some games it might be 60-40 pass; some games it might be 70-30 run,” WR Emmanuel Sanders said of the new offense. “It all depends on the defense that we’re playing that week which is smart.”

Hines Ward has been a part of several great offenses which have been run by a variety of coordinators. He won’t be part of this one, but he knows change is inevitable.

“I’ve had maybe four, five different coordinators and so, it’s a part of the business,” he said. “Players, coaches, they come and go and you have to adjust accordingly and I’m confident that the players will learn the playbook – especially when they start getting to OTAs and training camp and be ready to go before the season starts.”

Roethlisberger says it’s a matter of getting used to something new.

“When you get a comfort level of like eight years of the same thing and then you change it, it’s just something different, so I’m not saying I don’t like the playbook or anything like that,” he said. “Some of the stuff is really – some of the concepts are awesome, it’s just getting an understanding of something new.”

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Filed under: Sports, Steelers, Syndicated Sports Tagged: Ben Roethlisberger, Bob Pompeani, Emmanuel Sanders, Hines Ward, Max Starks, Merrill Hoge, Playbook, Todd Haley

Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers

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Mike Wallace will miss Steelers OTAs


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The Steelers open up OTAs tomorrow.  A big part of their offense will be missing when they do.  Mike Wallace has yet to sign his RFA tender.  He is also not expected to be at OTAs according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
The Steelers are in the early stages of a new offense.  This is valuable time for a guy like Wallace to get with his QB and work on timing in the new offense.  Wallace has been called a one trick pony in the past but became more then that last season.  He was starting to become a true number one receiver.  He could have really used this time on the field with the team.
Wallace does not plan on signing his RFA tender anytime soon.  He will most likely miss most of the offseason programs.  He will sign sometime during training camp so he does not lose any money.  He will play this season out and we will have this same problem next season.
The Steelers do control the rights to Wallace for the next 2 years.  They can franchise tag him after next season and keep him ano...

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