Tag Archives: Future

Ohio St. Linebacker Foregoes Potential NFL Career Out Of Fear For Future Health

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Former Ohio State Linebacker Andrew Sweat joined Seibel, Starkey and Miller on Sportsradio 93-7 The FAN to talk about the offer he received from the Cleveland Browns to tryout for the team, and the reasons why he decided to pass.

Sweat chose to pass on the opportunity to play for the Browns and rather instead pursue a career in law or medicine since he has suffered 3 concussions throughout his career.  Despite fearing for his future health, Andrew said it was still a tough decision to make since he had always grown up dreaming about playing in the NFL.

Andrew also told us about his time at Ohio St. where he spent two years living with former QB Terrell Pryor, and what his best memories are as a Buckeye.

Filed under: College, Football, Heard on The Fan, Sports, Sports Talk Shows, Steelers, Watch + Listen Tagged: Andrew Sweat, Cleveland Browns, Jim Tressel, Ohio State Buckeyes, Terrell Pryor

Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers


Mike Adam’s Success Could Determine Max Starks’ Future with Steelers

During the 2010 season rookie Maurkice Pouncey was the Steelers top center. In 2011 Marcus Gilbert was the top right tackle following a week one injury to Willie Colon. Heading into the 2012 season it seems first round pick David DeCastro is set to continue the trend by starting at right guard as a Continue

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

The Season of Hope: April Brings With It Excitement for the Future


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April.

If you are a generic baseball fan this is the best time of the year. While you are reading this the games have begun. And even a Pirates fan can dream that someway, somehow things will be different this year; a competitive year, even a playoff run. Those dreams may likely be dead by June, maybe as early as May and almost certainly by August. But in April there is hope. The Pens begin their playoff run soon. Could Sidney and the boys hoist another Stanley Cup in a couple of months?

In April you can hope.

At least with baseball, basketball and hockey you don't have to wait too long in the suspended animation of hope; football is another matter.

This is the time of the year when a football fan is sustained by vapors, fumes. Hope is sustenance, the only available currency at a time when we are so far removed from the reality and rhythms of the game that we can barely recall what it is really like. The leaves are the fresh light green of renewal, not the blazing orange, yellows and red of decline. The airwaves are full of talk concerning the Masters, season openers, the Cup, the Frozen Four, the NBA playoffs, London and other spring rituals. These, along with the just completed March Madness provide a smorgasbord for the devotees of other sports. In the meantime we munch on stale crackers; celebrating the small, the fantasy, the insignificant as a substitute for the real.

As I write this the league and the Steelers have released their preseason schedules for the 2012. So, I am reduced to poring over a list of glorified scrimmages, most of which will be forgotten long before Columbus Day unless there is some disaster like a major injury. The preseason opener is Pittsburgh at Philadelphia. If you are forgetful enough you may find yourself fantasizing about Ben vs. Michael Vick before you are reminded that for a first preseason game it will be, at most, one or two series for the top tier guys before they yield to the wannabes.

Not that there isn't a certain amount of intrigue in the wannabes. But in the end we're just talking about a better quality of cracker. Then again there may be also some interest in watching the new Haley offense, but how much do you show to a team that you will be meeting in the regular season? Yet I am certain that I will be scouring the NFL Network schedule for a viewing time which is likely to be three in the morning in order to absorb every detail of this and the other two preseason games that are only televised locally in Pittsburgh. The one nationally televised game is against the Colts. Why? To hear them boo Bruce Arians at Heinz? Or, that will be the coming out event for Oliver Luck (or RG3?).

Yesterday it was the new uniforms by Nike. Would we be mistaking the Steelers for the Oregon Ducks? Thankfully, no. Now we can wait for the unveiling of the new throwbacks in celebration of the 80th Anniversary. Another cracker.

So how do we keep hope alive over the intervening days and weeks? Many will continue to immerse themselves in mock drafts. Who will be the next Maurkice, or Limas? Some ambitious types will speculate who we should pluck from the available pool of free agents. And you can always peruse the list of prospects invited to the Southside for interviews and then research them mercilessly.

In two weeks things open up a bit. Players are allowed to begin workout programs on the 16th. Four days later the free agent signing period ends and with it the Wallace Watch. A week later tea leaves give way to reality as they conduct the real draft. Right after that the signing of UDFAs.

In May the bird food diet of hope can give way to some major league dreaming. The roster of prospects will be largely set. Unless the team is really unlucky, the hope will not be dampened by injuries, subpar performances, and there are no games to lose or other disappointments. We can dine on the OTAs and try to read between the lines as Tomlin and other team representatives creatively say nothing. We will still be three months from any real football, but we will have something to talk about. And for all but the chronically pessimistic it will be mostly positive.

But for now, pass the crackers.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Peyton Manning Won’t be the First Future Hall of Fame Quarterback to Finish His Career With a Different team. A Look Back at How Others Have Done

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It appears that legendary quarterback Peyton Manning, who was cut by the Colts last week after 14 years, is nearing a decision on a new team. Where will the future Hall of Fame quarterback finish his career?

Will the 35 year old Manning head to Denver and, at least temporarily, put an end to Tebowmania? Will he follow in Kurt Warner's footsteps and head to the desert to play pitch-and-catch with Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals? Or will he stay close to his condo in South Florida and give the Dolphins the first glimpse of a legitimate quarterback since the days of Dante Marino?

It's still anyone's guess at this point.

Manning won't be the first quarterback of his stature to end his career with another team. In-fact, several come to mind. Below, I will give a brief review of how each quarterback's careers ended after they left their signature teams.

Johnny Unitas

You might say that Unitas was the Manning of his day. Playing 17 seasons with the Baltimore Colts from 1956-1972, Unitas passed for just under 40,000 yards and threw 287 touchdown passes. He was also NFL MVP three times and led Baltimore to three World Championships, including Super Bowl V in 1970 at age 37. At the age of 40, Unitas was traded to the San Diego Chargers before the '73 season. There, he started only four games, going 1-3 and throwing for 471 yards, three touchdowns and seven interceptions. Unitas eventually gave way to fellow future Hall of Famer Dan Fouts, and retired from football following that season. Unitas became the first quarterback to pass for over 40,000 yards and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.

Joe Namath

Namath played for 12 seasons with the New York Jets from 1965-1976 and was known for both his play on the field as well as his partying ways off of it. He is best remembered for his famous quote prior to Super Bowl III, where he guaranteed that his Jets, a member of the then AFL and a huge underdog, would defeat the 15-1 Baltimore Colts of the NFL. Namath backed up his boast, as the Jets upset the heavily favored Colts, 16-7, and helped to legitimize the AFL in what is regarded by many as one of the most important games in pro football history. Namath's final years in New York were sidetracked with injuries, and in 1977, he was waived by New York and signed with the Los Angeles Rams. Namath was unable to overcome his injury problems with the Rams and only played in four games that year before retiring from football for good. Namath was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

Joe Montana

Montana played 13 seasons for the San Francisco 49ers from 1979-1992, passing for over 35000 yards and 244 touchdowns. Montana was named NFL MVP two times and helped lead the 49ers to four Super Bowl titles in the 80's. Montana was voted Super Bowl MVP three times and is only one of two quarterbacks to win four Super Bowls during his career. Due to injury, Montana missed all of '91 and only played in one game in '92 before being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in '93 at the age of 37. Montana played two seasons in Kansas City, going 17-8 as a starter and leading the Chiefs to two playoff victories in 1993--including a come-from-behind overtime win against the Steelers in the wild card round. Montana retired following the '94 season and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.

Brett Favre

After a brief stint with the Falcons in 1991, Favre played for the Packers from 1992-2007 and would go on to have one of the greatest careers in NFL history. While in Green Bay, Favre compiled a record of 160-93 as a starter and passed for over 61,000 yards and 442 touchdowns. Favre was voted NFL MVP for three straight years starting in 1995 and helped to lead the Packers to their first World Championship since the 1967 season with a victory in Super Bowl XXXI in January of '97. After much speculation, Favre announced his retirement following the 2007 season. However, after expressing a desire to come back, the Packers eventually traded Favre to the Jets prior to the 2008 season. Favre would lead the Jets to a 9-7 record that year, as he threw 22 touchdown passes and 22 interceptions. Favre again announced his retirement following the season, but instead, returned to play the 2009 campaign with the Packers NFC North rivals, the Minnesota Vikings. Favre turned 40 during the '09 season, but he still had enough in the tank to throw for 4200 yards and 33 touchdowns, as he led the Vikings to a 12-4 regular season record. The Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship game, and Favre had the team on the doorstep of its first Super Bowl berth since January of 1977, before throwing a critical interception at the end of regulation, the Vikings eventually lost to the Saints in overtime. Favre came back for one more season with the Vikings, and he went 5-8 as a starter before officially retiring following the 2010 season. All-in-all, Favre passed for over 71,000 yards and 508 touchdowns in his remarkable career, and, much like Manning, his ticket to Canton is already stamped.

So, where will Manning finish his career, and what kind of success will he have? Will age and the neck surgery that he had prior to the 2011 season force him to retire after only a few games like Unitas and Namath? Will he lead his new team on a playoff run like Montana and Favre did with their new teams?

Or, will Peyton Manning do the unheard of, and not only continue to play at a high-level, but become the first starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different teams?



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain


Will the Steelers choose Mike Wallace and the future or the past?

It has become blatantly apparent that Mike Wallace either has to get the franchise tag or sign a new contract before the start of free agency or there is a damn good possibility he will be in another uniform next season.  It did not matter which channel I turned on or which site I looked at over the past two days.  They all are hyping the same thing.  Mike Wallace being a restricted free agent will likely land him on another team.
Wallace can only receive a first round tender from the Steelers as protection.  That is a small price to pay for a 25 year old wide receiver who can blow the top off of the defense.  Wallace is going to be a prime candidate on the market.  It is a good year for wide receivers with Vincent Jackson, Wes Welker, Reggie Wayne and others out there.  Most are about to hit or are over 30.  Wallace is about to hit his prime.  The production a team will get out him will well exceed everyone else on this list.
There seems to be four team names that come up all in mo...

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

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No decision yet on Ward’s future

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Despite what was making the rounds on Twitter over the weekend, General Manager Kevin Colbert said definitively on Monday that the Steelers have not made any decisions regarding Hines Ward. They ha...

Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : News

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Hines Ward’s Future Up In Proverbial Air

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Hines Ward's future with the Steelers is on the decision block and his future with the team will most likely be decided on March 1. 2012, due to a roster bonus he is due. At the Super Bowl media center Thursday, Ward was adamant that he'd be with the Steelers. It's true that in the last year of Bruce Arians' offense, Ward was devalued, but Arians is gone and that may or may not bode well for the 14-year veteran out of Georgia. Ward is scheduled to earn $ 4 million in the last two years of his contract, and has insisted he's willing to take a cut to stay with the team.

According to the Pittsburgh Read more [...]

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The Ward Dilemma; What To Do With a Future Hall of Famer

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  The Pittsburgh Steelers’ all-time leader in all things receiving sat down yesterday with Art Rooney II and discussed his future with the organization. This was a meeting asked for by Hines Ward who wants to continue playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers entering his 15th professional season. The good news here is that it appears [...]

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Ed Bouchette Discusses Future Of Many Aging Steelers

PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Steelers’ beat writer Ed Bouchette joined The Fan Morning Show Thursday.

He discussed potential off-season moves the Steelers will need to make as the organization prepares for next season.

Click the link below to listen to the full interview:

Filed under: Football, Heard on The Fan, Sports, Steelers Tagged: Ben Roethliserger, Bruce Arians, Ed Bouchette, Kirby Wilson, NFL, Off-Season, Pittsburgh Steelers

Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers

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Art Rooney Looking Back at 2011 and Forward to the Future

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 19:  Pittsburgh Steelers President and co-owner Art Rooney II is seen before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on December 19, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)

Steelers President Art Rooney II recently discussed a wide variety of topics, and you can find accounts of it almost anywhere you look - Steelers.com, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (the Trib's Scott Brown chose to spin two articles out of it - one and two).

Most all of them covered Rooney's thoughts on the following topics in some shape or form:

Salary cap - The Steelers are about $ 25 million over the $ 124 million salary cap that is projected for next season, and have until March 13 to rectify the situation.

Quotes to note (I tried to take out most of the word-for-word overlap without butchering how they were written in the articles):

"I would say it's probably as big an issue as we've had to face," Rooney said. "There will be some tough decisions. There will probably have to be some contracts that get restructured and things like that. No question, there's a lot of work to be done."

"There are a lot of key pieces to the puzzle and young players on offense that I think will get better, the receivers being a particular bright spot. We have a couple good young offensive linemen. We have our franchise quarterback. So, I think the pieces are there to get better. We just have to do what we need to do to build on that." (PPG)

"It's not a situation where we're looking to tear things apart and start over," team president Art Rooney II said Tuesday in his first interview since the Steelers were upset in Denver on Jan. 8. "I think there are a lot of pieces in place. Getting younger on defense is a process that's already started. Obviously, we have some decisions to make with certain players and their contracts." (Trib)

We've all known and expected this to be coming, but what Rooney said in the Trib quote is especially interesting (to me). My interpretation is that he's saying that the front office has not been ignoring the age and declining team speed on defense, and has certainly been drafting to try to account for it. Tough decisions have been a long time coming - with regards to guys like Hampton, Farrior, Foote, etc. - and it had been planned to address it sooner or later. The salary cap issue makes it very soon.

To echo one of Ivan's sentiments from his State of the Steelers editorial - rebuilding on the fly while simultaneously remaining competitive is a tough balance and very difficult to pull off.

Hines' Future - He's a Steelers legend, but the $ 4 million he's slated to make next year needs to be brought more in line with his declining role in the offense

"The overall story on Hines is that he's one of the all-time great players we have had. Hopefully, he is a Hall of Famer. I sure think he is," said Rooney. "We are just in the beginning stages of the process of evaluating what our roster will look like next year. We'll be having some conversations with Hines as we go through the next few weeks about where he fits and how he fits and whether he fits. We have a lot of decisions to make. He had decisions to make. I don't want to speculate on it because the minimum we owe him is to have private conversations about that." (Steelers.com)

"All of those things, you want it to end the right way whenever it ends. But it's a two-party decision. We'll evaluate how we feel about it over the next few weeks, we'll talk to Hines -- I've already had one conversation with Hines, so the communications are already started. We will all get to our decision in due time." (PPG)

However it works out, both sides need an amicable and agreeable resolution to this. It'd be a blot on Hines' legacy if he went elsewhere to finish out his storied career, and it would reflect poorly on the Steelers if they mishandle a man who's been a consummate Steeler for the past 14 years.

Big Ben and Sacks - The best way to keep Ben healthy and effective is to keep him and his loose extremities from getting consistently caught between a 265-300+ pound pass rusher and the ground.

"I don't think we should want or expect a dramatic change in Ben. 'A little bit' is probably the key phrase," said Rooney. "He has been pretty darn successful in a lot of what he does. He's different from other quarterbacks. We don't want or expect dramatic changes in Ben. We need him to be healthy. We need him to continue to be healthy. He is turning 30. Taking fewer sacks, fewer risks here and there is something he needs to think about. But not a dramatic change." (Steelers.com)

"Roethlisberger was sacked 40 times this season. When asked if keeping him more upright in 2012 is tied to upgrading the offensive line, Rooney said, "For the most part, I would say we feel like we have the people in the building that can do the job. That's not to say that we won't try to get better as we prepare for the offseason, and the draft is always something that we look at as an opportunity to get better." (Trib)

Whether you think it's a big or a small change, Ben does need to learn to throw the ball away more often. I find the Trib quote to be particularly interesting again, since you could possibly interpret it in a few of ways:

1). The simplest - Rooney doesn't want to publicly malign the personnel on the offensive line because that is not good team-building.

2). We had the personnel for it, but injuries and other factors out of our control kept the same five guys from playing together week-in and week-out and they never had the opportunity to form good chemistry.

3). There's a difference between pass protecting for your average QB, who ideally gets rid of the ball when the play starts to break down and the heat is getting close, and pass protecting for Big Ben, who usually views the end of the designed play as just another opportunity to exercise his improvisational abilities.

I'm not throwing out the third possibility as an excuse for poor performances in pass protection - like getting lit up by Aldon and Justin Smith against the 49ers, for example. It also does not excuse substandard blocking for the running game. I just think there is a difference between developing offensive linemen to the point where they can pass protect for your typical pocket passer, and getting them to learn the nuances and idiosyncrasies of how to keep Ben alive when he decides he wants to run and touch both sidelines before throwing the ball.

Free agency - We need to get under the cap first.

"It's unlikely that we'll be a big player in the free-agent market, I think that's fair to say. I think it will be similar to how we pursued it in the past. Our key interest will be to keep the players we have, to see if we can sign some of our younger players to longer-term contracts, that will be our key goal. If we have an opportunity to fit in a piece here and a piece there, we'll look at it." (PPG)

Again, we need to get under the cap first. Once we do, we have quite a few free agents in a variety of flavors that we would like to retain (see: Wallace, Burnell "Mike"). Once that is also resolved, there's not going to be much of a slush fund to outbid anyone for an instant upgrade at most any position.

Free agency starts on March 13 at 4pm - same day as the salary cap deadline.

Heinz Field Expansion - 3,000 seats will be added for the 2013 season

"We made the decision that we weren't going to go forward with the project once we got past a certain point last year, last summer," said Rooney. "The uncertainty of the lockout is what really pushed us into next year, because we really had to pull the trigger on the project last June. We wound up in a situation where we had to put it off." (Steelers.com)

The new seats will be located in the open end - South end zone - around where the temporary seating was constructed for the Winter Classic. Those seats will then be offered to people on the team's season ticket waiting list.

Interesting tidbits (to me) that were not mentioned in all of the sources:

Senior Steeler Assistant retiring?

This was only mentioned in the PPG article, and expanded upon in a blog post by Bob Smizik. The root of it is the following that Rooney said (from the transcript linked within Smizik's post):

"The coaching staff, I don't expect any major turnover on this coaching staff. We think we have a good staff. That's not to say there won't be any turnover. We have guys on the coaching staff who have talked about retiring, are senior-type guys and I know Mike [Tomlin] is going through the process of having those conversations as we speak. But I'm not expecting wholesale changes on the staff."

Expect the coordinators back?

"At this point, yeah."

Smizik went on to speculate that it could be special teams coordinator Al Everest (in his early 60s), assistant head coach and defensive line coach John Mitchell (58), tight ends coach James Daniel (56), or maybe even Bruce Arians (gasp!) that have considered retiring (and the rumors that it is Arians are intensifying).

Quarterback coach Randy Fichtner has been bandied about as a possible in-house successor should Arians decide to retire. If Arians does retire but the Steelers want to bring in someone from outside the organization, Smizik thinks recently fired Colts head coach Jim Caldwell could be a candidate.

The way Rooney worded it, I can easily see the arguments for and against the mystery coach being Arians. The argument for it being Arians is that he is a senior-type guy in both age and rank on the coaching ladder. If Fichtner has been designated the successor at offensive coordinator, and intends to continue this evolution to a pass-centric attack that Arians started, you could argue that the change does not constitute a "wholesale change" or a "major turnover". Rooney's final response is undoubtedly truthful as of this moment, but far from set in stone. And Arians apparently took time to mull over this very same decision last year.

The argument against the mystery coach being Arians is changing offensive coordinators usually comes under the heading of a "major turnover". Granted, there's not likely to be "wholesale changes" given how entrenched Ben is and how this is his show, but I find it hard to believe that the change to a new coordinator would not be noticeable - especially if we went outside the organization for one.

Hopefully the rumors will either be substantiated or discredited and this will all be clarified soon.

Mendenhall in Long-term Plans

"Whether we sign him in advance of this season or not; I think Rashard has demonstrated that he can be a major contributor for us," Rooney said, "So we'll more than likely be trying to sign him to a contract at the appropriate time, whenever that is." (Trib and within PPG's transcript)

Mendy will be going into the final year of his contract, but the vote of confidence in him from Rooney right now is notable since Mendy just underwent surgery for his torn ACL. I'm sure the Steelers will undoubtedly wait to see how his recovery has progressed before starting to address a new contract though.

What do you think is most interesting from Art Rooney's discussions? (Though I did neglect to discuss what he specifically had to say about the disappointing way the season ended)



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain


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