Daily Archives: May 23, 2012

Johnson Versus Johnson Training Camp Battle Appears To Be On The Horizon

The Pittsburgh Steelers have completed their first two OTA practices of the 2012 season and quite a good bit of information has come out since the team has reassembled this week in Pittsburgh. The past few days we received confirmation on what we already knew heading into the week and that is that there are two fullbacks on the roster in the form of David Johnson and Will Johnson. Running back Jonathan Dwyer let us know this on our podcast just prior to this week and fellow running back Isaac Redman confirmed it to the media on Wednesday.

While training camp is still a good two months away from Read more […]

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Agree to Disagree – OTAs No. 1

With OTAs beginning earlier in the week, Bob and Mike have plenty of subjects to cover in this episode of Agree to Disagree

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Steelers’ Harrison: Goodell lawsuit ‘win-win’ for players

Wed, 23 May 2012 17:23:20
by Scott Brown

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Steelers Center Maurkice Pouncey Discusses New Offense

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey is happy to be back to work and happy to be going in-depth once again with Jim Colony on The Fan Morning Show.

Pouncey and his teammates are in town for OTA’s this week and next.

He talks about the new faces on the offensive line and learning a new offense.

You can hear the full interview here:

Filed under: Football, Heard on The Fan, Radio.com – Sports, Sports, Steelers, Watch + Listen Tagged: In Depth With Maurkice Pouncey, Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers, The Fan Morning Show

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OTAs -Day One

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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 hand.

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So Mike Wallace Isn’t Attending OTAs, What’s the Problem?

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Most people are aware Steelers WR Mike Wallace is not attending OTAs. Most are even more keenly aware he’s doing it because he wants a contract extension, and not the $ 2.7 million restricted free agent tender offer the Steelers have given him.

There seems to be a split in SteelerNation on whether Wallace is doing the right thing – or even the ethical one. Turns out, there’s a long list of Steelers who will not graduate OTAs with 100 percent attendance.

The Tribune-Review reported neither DE Brett Keisel nor CB Ike Taylor were in attendance for Day One of Phase One of OTAs. It’s likely not for contractual-conflict reasons, but rather, something personal and probably understandable.

Wallace, though, is apparently committing some kind of crime, in the eyes of many.

At this point in the offseason schedule, coaches cannot work directly with players anyway. Any “work” they’re doing in regards to the playbook is running un-defended routes without a pass rush. Any nuances of an offense gleaned from practice against air in shells had sure not be anything the players wouldn’t have gathered on their own.

OTAs are nothing more than a way for the guys to get back together, discuss a few things regarding the game, stretch out and run a bit, pose for a few pictures and go over to someone’s place to grill and enjoy the summer. These are not highly competitive, it’s silly to suggest positions will be won and lost during this time.

Personally, I think the whole concept of OTAs has been lost on the media, who starve for NFL-related news this time of the year, and the whole thing has become overblown, but I digress.

It’s not that Wallace – or any other veteran – doesn’t need to attend, but…they don’t need to attend. Besides, if Wallace is serious about wanting “Fitzgerald money,” (a report that has yet to be substantiated by Wallace or his agent, Bus Cook, which doesn’t mean it’s either true or untrue) the team should get used to him missing OTAs in Pittsburgh next year, and minicamp, training camp and Weeks 1-17.

All that matters is if he shows up for Training Camp. He’s only hurting himself by choosing not to attend that, and it would seem unlikely his agent would suggest he take that route.

If there’s an intriguing part to this, it’s the Steelers’ full team minicamp is scheduled for June 12-14, or, the three days before Wallace must sign his tender offer or risk having it substantially reduced. The deadline for the team to exercise that collectively-bargained right is June 15, so Wallace could choose to skip minicamp as well, before signing his offer.

All he needs to do is look at recent history to see his best option; LaMarr Woodley, Troy Polamalu and Lawrence Timmons all inked extensions quickly into training camp in 2011. Signing it June 15 and insisting upon continued negotiations through training camp is his best – and most likely – course of action. That’s how the business side works. Neither the team nor Wallace are in the wrong at this point.

And certainly, he can run uncovered routes on his own somewhere else.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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NFL to Discuss New IR and Trade Deadline Rules with NFLPA


The NFL’s Injured-Reserve (IR) list was created as a way for teams to make room on their roster for a healthy player while maintaining rights to an injured player under contract.

Among other things, a player placed on the IR receives the remainder of the money owed to him in that season, but is no longer eligible to play for the remainder of the year.

The NFL is currently in negotiations to tweak that rule, allowing a player to return to the roster from the IR at a point in the season.

Currently, a player on the 53 man roster stays there unless he is released or placed on the IR. This differs from Major League Baseball, for example, where a player is put on the Disabled List, thus, not counting on their 25-man roster. MLB can have a player not count on their active roster for 15 or 60 days, so they can bring in a replacement while that player recovers. The NFL’s policy does not allow that, presumably, to stem the desire of a team to stash a player away, not having him count against their roster but not having to risk letting him go either.

While the details are yet to be hammered out (two of the biggest details being the length of time a player must spend on the IR before being eligible for reactivation and compensation for that player while on the IR), but this rule would help a team deal with a player’s injury in a less-than-absolute fashion, and allow some time for rehabilitation and healing before making a definitive judgment on his availability the rest of the year.

The most likely injury this would create flexibility with would be concussions. Those injuries vary so greatly in terms of severity from player to player, and it’s difficult to determine how long a player may struggle with that injury. This would allow a team to place a player on IR for several weeks, and have him rejoin the roster when he’s functionally and safely able to play again.

The league is also in discussions with the union over moving the trade deadline back from Week 6 to Week 8. The idea is to allow a bit more time for trades to develop, and have the playoff picture a little bit more defined before disallowing teams to pursue other players.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Jerricho Cotchery Explains Why He Returned To The Steelers

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PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Steelers Wide Receiver Jerricho Cotchery sat down with Joe Starkey of Seibel, Starkey and Miller on Sportsradio 93-7 The FAN at the start of OTA’s to talk about his desire to return with the Steelers and taking on the role of veteran leader for the teams young receiving core.

When it comes to the new offense that Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley is trying to install, Jerricho said Ben Roethlisberger was accurate in saying that it’s about 90 percent different from what they were used to under Bruce Arians.  Jerricho also gave us some insight in what we may see different in this new playbook.

Despite Ben speaking publicly about the playbook, Jerricho told us that Ben is a pro and he’ll be ready to lead the team when it’s time to take the field.

We also got Jerricho to weigh in on the passing of Junior Seau and the Saints bounty situation.

Filed under: Football, Heard on The Fan, Sports, Sports Talk Shows, Steelers, Watch + Listen Tagged: Ben Roethlisberger, Jerricho Cotchery, Mike Tomlin, Todd Haley

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Ward recognized by legislators

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While his former teammates were going through the first of 10 OTAs, Hines Ward was in Harrisburg being praised by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and members of the state legislature “as someone …

Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : News

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NFL takes strides to change culture

Remember when Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison crushed Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy last year on an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit?

That’s a glancing blow compared to the public-relations beating the NFL is taking.

More than 2,000 former players have filed lawsuits claiming the league was negligent in handling their concussions. Damning audio surfaced of ex-New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams telling his unit to injure San Francisco 49ers players during the postseason. Even former stars like Kurt Warner have expressed hesitation about letting their own children play because of the long-term damage it may cause.

But after being pummeled from all angles on health and safety matters this offseason, the NFL is starting to fight back.

The first media briefing from the league’s spring meeting in Buckhead, Ga. trumpeted NFL efforts in trying to change the culture of an inherently violent game as well as helping some former players better deal with the often difficult transition into post-football life.

Team owners and management spent most of Tuesday morning being briefed on new medical initiatives. Speakers on those topics included former U.S. surgeon general David Satcher and NFL vice president of player engagement Troy Vincent.

During the news conference, Vincent declared that “the days of, ‘Tough it out. Get up. Suck it up,’ are over.”

Not so fast.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell continues to receive player resistance in his attempts to alter what Vincent described as a misguided “macho” approach to handling both the physical and emotional issues that come with being in the league. That group, as well as a sizeable number of fans attracted by the NFL’s brutality, wants the league to continue featuring the kinds of hits and practices that helped lead to the concussion-related lawsuits threatening its financial stability.

The push-back against Goodell doesn’t end there. NFL owners voted Tuesday to make thigh and knee pads mandatory for the 2013 season. The vote goes against the wishes of players, who prefer not to use them even if it may make them more susceptible to injury. The NFL Players Association plans to file a grievance claiming that the initiative violates the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

For their involvement in a Saints bounty program that allegedly targeted the opposition, Goodell levied seven suspensions “to protect player safety and the integrity of our game.” Four of those players have filed appeals, with one suing Goodell directly for defamation while claiming not enough evidence was provided to justify such punishment.

Vincent, too, knows that comments from other players about the NFL becoming soft further undermine Goodell’s endeavors. Harrison — the first player ever suspended for a helmet-to-helmet hit after concussing McCoy — is particularly outspoken. Besides calling him a “crook” and “a devil” during a 2011 Men’s Journal interview, Harrison mocked Goodell at Super Bowl XLV by suggesting that the NFL should “lay pillows down where I tackle (players) so they don’t get hurt when they hit the ground.”

When the Men’s Journal article surfaced, Vincent said he called Steelers player development director Ray Jackson to suggest “there has to be a better way” for Harrison to express himself.

Maybe the suicide of linebacker Junior Seau will enlighten Harrison and those who feel the same way about Goodell’s initiatives.

Seau’s death and the unknown circumstance behind it continues to hang over the league like a dark cloud. Speculation has centered upon potential brain damage from football-generated concussions — none of which were ever documented on injury reports during Seau’s 20 NFL seasons — and anxiety brought on by the personal, professional and financial adjustments that come when exiting the league.

Legal counsel Jeff Pash announced that the NFL will be doing more research into player suicides, helmet improvement and ways of developing an “intervention program to make sure we have more effective outreach for our retired player population.” To that end, NFL officials met last week with members of the National Institute on Mental Health, the Veterans Administration and related private agencies.

“It allowed us to become a partner in a broader subject,” Vincent said of Seau’s suicide. “NFL players are not exempt from those things in normal society.”

Normalcy, though, is a relative term for NFL players. They are well aware of the risks and rewards that come with playing the sport.

Some will leave wealthy and with relatively minor health problems. Some will be broken physically, spiritually and financially. Most will fall somewhere in between.

But if the NFL has its way, all future players will have this in common — a better chance of avoiding the problems from prior generations that Goodell must now handle.

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

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