What's going on Steeler Nation? I hope your weekends were enjoyable. I took in a number of college basketball games this past four days - some of my very first all year. Was fun. My bracket was looking quite dandy after the first two days, but Villanova and Kansas losing pretty much buried me for good.
Anyway, pardon my absence for most of last week. I was keeping an eye on the site and the conversations struck up by you all. But I was preoccupied finishing my second to last quarter of graduate school and finishing up moving into a new place in West Seattle. It's now 'spring break' for me, so I plan to spend more time writing as the 2010 NFL Draft inches ever closer.
* Speaking of the Draft, Idaho offensive lineman Mike Iupati plans to visit up to 15 NFL teams in the coming weeks. The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of them. With the flurry of offseason moves made by the Steelers that addressed other areas of need, I'm more on board than I previously had been with the idea of Pittsburgh selecting Iupati or another one of the highly regarded offensive tackles (or guards, centers?) with their first round pick. Here's a nice puff piece (but informative if you don't know much about the guy) about Iupati's background.
* For those of you who are more visually inclined, take a gander at this video of Mike Iupati working out at this year's Combine. Granted, you can only take so much away from watching a dude work out in shorts, but it's a nicely pacakaged video by NFL.com nonetheless, and it gives you at least some sense of the kid's athletic gifts.
* I'm pleased to have recently signed on with Maple Street Press to do their Steelers Annual again this year. To those of you who graciously purchased one last year, many thanks, as I don't think I would have been asked to do it again if it hadn't sold at all. For those of you who are newer to the site, the publication is basically a 125 page preseason publication devoted to all things Steelers - with awesome glossy photos and no visually annoying advertisements. You can take a look at the contents of last year's publication here to get a better sense of the project. Though sadly, this year's theme and celebratory narrative will be a bit different.
* A quick housekeeping note - please remember to abide by BTSC's very few but important community guidelines and rules. Basically they are - no religion, no politics, no racism/sexism/homophobia. The rest is mostly just common sense - treat people with respect, don't flagrantly litter your contributions to the site with unnecessary profanity. With Ben Roethlisberger's unfortunate situation nowhere near being over with, the debate over health care intensifying every day, the site continuing to grow, etc etc, there's probably more danger than ever of the site getting out of control if we all don't remember to keep it clean, fun and enjoyable for all.
* Just as we have the past several years, I'm pleased to announce that we'll be doing our BTSC Community Mock Draft again in 2010. I'll be posting more extensive guidelines for this year's version, but take a look at the introductory post I wrote last year for the event. If you think you'd like to participate, keep your eye out for a post like that one on Monday or Tuesday so that you can jump on in and snag a team. It's been fun the past several years, even though we didn't get to the 32nd and final pick last year - the Steelers pick - due to the selector being tied up with the birth of his first child. Such is life, but do keep in mind that these things only work if the participants are able to follow through on their initial commitments.
* I thought I was done with announcements, but one more I remembered that I'm quite excited about. BTSC and SB Nation NFL sites will be partnering up with the very fine folks at the National Football Post. What that means exactly at this moment, I'm not sure. But the NFP is no joke. Michael Lombardi headlines their team of outstanding analysts and insiders, but he's not the only one producing compelling and unique content for NFL fans. Familiarize yourself with the rest of their roster and hopefully find yourself something new to add to your rotation of NFL-related reading material. Hopefully BTSC will be able to pick the site's collective brainpower to bring you more and better content in the months and years to come.