I am really just taken aback. This offseason has been filled with more ups and downs than Brittany Spears career. I have had several thoughts on what has happened and what may happen.
First off unfortunately the biggest story of these off season has to be Big Stupid. This new accusation seems to have a dark cloud over it and an excellent point was made in the Post-Gazette. While there have been no charges yet they are collecting DNA. That is what concerns me the most. Why would they need to collect DNA unless there was some type of relations occurred with this girl? The seems to lend towards the side of rape than it does sexual harassment within the spectrum of sexual assault. There would be no DNA to collect by just touching someone inappropriately. It will be interesting to see what the DNA test come back with, in the Kobe case the girl had several different sets of DNA in her - yea she was 'loose' and they still charged Kobe. If there is only one set of DNA that has Ben name on it then that will spell trouble. However improbable it may seem - in a club bathroom which is usually filled with people - it may have happened (I know thats obvious). Another big deal is the video tape. They reporting that there are cameras all over the place - is there is a shot of Ben following this girl into the bathroom, we'll Ben may not have the same luck as Ray Lewis did (not implying any guilt upon Ray just making a statement that he was not found guilty of anything). I think those are the two most important factors to look at right now and they will determine whether or not Ben will get charged or not. It seems like the police will review all evidence before making a judgment, we will probably hear something Friday, if they see anything on tape and the DNA comes back positive Ben will be charged; if either the DNA comes back negative or the tape shows nothing he won't be. As far as the tape goes, Ben's bouncer had said that he didn't notice anything out of the ordinary happen that night; he learned about the situation through a friend. That only means A) he is terrible at his job B) this sort of thing happens all the time or C) as far as his perspective is concerned nothing crazy happened. There are already pictures of Ben and the alleged accuser on TMZ, but just because they were friendly at one point doesn't mean that the relationship didn't turn sour at any point of the night. It just seems there should be witnesses seeing Ben go into the bathroom behind this girl, which if the girl followed him then the charges get dropped. This case certainly is more serious than the previous one and I only hope Ben is innocent because I hope a sexual assault didn't occur. This is more than football, this is more than hopefully securing a vital part of our entertainment - which is what football is. This is potentially a girls life being shaken to the core with an experience no female should ever have to endure.
Free Agent signings
What can you say? OT Jon Scott, FS Ryan Clark, WR Antwaan Randle El, WR Arnaz Battle, SS Will Allen, LB Patrick Bailey, NT Casey Hampton, K Jeff Reed. There are 22 positions on the field and we signed 7 guys about 1/3 of a team. (K usually is not included in the 22) The only other guy I can see us bring in is Larry Foote; anyone else will just be competition for camp. As blitz has said, the steelers are really preparing to win now and are showing it. Lets hope that these are seeds to at least one more super bowl ring within the next three years, this heavily depends on what happens to Ben in the upcoming weeks. All these moves gives the Steelers flexibility in the draft, they can do what they want to do. Which in my mind means trying to get McClain. You want to get the best talent because you want play makers on your team, that is what win games. By covering all the bases there is no risk of leaving a hole somewhere and they are able to get the best player possible in each round. McClain in my opinion is the best player we can possibly get in the first round. Lets throw the draft trade 'guideline' out the window. If a team is desperate enough (Jacksonville) a deal can be made. That means we may not have to give a second rounder to the jags for their 10th pick. They do not want that pick - many jag fans know about the teams financial trouble and they simply cannot afford the 10th pick. You also need to be convinced that the Broncos and Miami will take McClain before anyone else, that is the only reason to trade up. We complain about our secondary last year, want to make it much better? Get pressure from the LBs and the secondary will improve - of course the addition of some guy name Troy may help also.
OT Jonathan Scott
We needed OT depth badly like women's basketball needs the UConn team to all come down with Swine Flu so somebody else has a chance at the title this year. I know nothing about this guy but right now any bodies at tackle is good. We have Essex and Hills manning the back up positions at T. There needs to be some competition. Hills has to show something this year because the only way he gets a hat on Sunday is if somebody is hurt. He was thought to be a draft steal because the only reason he dropped to the 4th was because of injury, otherwise he would have been a late 2nd round (reach) or 3rd round pick. I still believe we take a tackle somewhere in this draft, maybe 3 round. Starks is here long term and Colon I believe they are going to try to sign to a long term deal over the off season. So while it would be nice to have a 1st round draft pick on the line, they already have money tied up in other spots on the line and there is a log jam at the guard position, especially if you that Foster will be able to start next year; I just don't see adding even more money is what the Steelers want to do but we'll see.
FS Ryan Clark and SS Will Allen
I really thought that Clark was gone. Thats what I get for reading too much into what a player says during contract negotiations. Ncloong (I think that is right) and my father got it right. Before free agency the player should say they want to be with the team, thats how you negotiate. What is he suppose to say; I'm all about the money? He could but that will lose you ground with the Steelers. You do what Clark did; go to another team and say this team wants me what are you going to do and see what happens. The steelers showed Clark that he was indeed a priority with a brand new shiny contract. We needed Clark, we already are shallow on safety depth we couldn't afford to lose our starter. Clark knew this and his agent knew this and they apparently played their cards right. We know that Clark won't see the last year of that contract unless he gets bitten by a radioactive spider. As far as Will Allen is concerned, I'm just glad we got someone not name Tyrone Carter. Hopefully Will Allen will have the speed to at least complete and be more of a defensive presence instead of the offensive asset that Carter was. Carter thank you for your services but time to find a new line of work. The Steelers will still more than likely pick up a Safety in the draft, I'm thinking a 2nd round safety someone like Morgan Burnett.
WR Antwaan Randle EL and Arnaz Battle
This was a shrewd move by the Steelers. You don't hurt yourself at all by bringing these guys in. For ARE he is a fan favorite and I always felt he regretted leaving the Steelers no matter how much the deadskins over paid for him. You can see him interview the Steelers at XLIII and tell he wished he was with them. Arnaz is more likely just for special teams help and see if he makes the team, no harm done. Antwaan Randle El on the other hand will more than likely make the team. Either as a 4th or 5th WR. I still believe Sweed can make this team if he wants to. He has all the talent in the word and if he shows up in camp and shows that talent El will be a 5th receiver. We will have a more stable status at WR than we've had in a while. This is Sweed's last chance and I believe they are sending that message to him with these signings. I doubt they go WR in the draft, we have other pressing needs if Sweed doesn't pan out we will be fine this year without him. I am still on team Sweed and we are doing everything we can to make sure our client will be ready to perform this year, Johnny_S is working vigorously in preparing our client for camp.
LB Patrick Bailey, NT Casey Hampton, K Reed
Flexibility, Flexibility, and Flexibility; I'm not talking yoga here nor am I talking about 12 16 year old Chinese female gymnasts. These moves allows us to compete in the upcoming years and gives us time to draft BPA this year and worry about NT later, which we may end up going to a 4-3 in the future. It makes more sense with more teams playing the 3-4 making it harder to find players for it. James Harrison can't play in the 4-3 but we don't know how long he will be around, we know that Casey won't be around for long. We may see this team change formation on defense when Casey retires and Lebeau retires. So in fear of being banned for uttering those words that is the end of this post. Thoughts?