IX -Dale Lolley is out in front of the pack with the announcement that the Pittsburgh Steelers have used the Franchise Tag on outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Though no official announcement has been made by the organization as of early Wednesday morning, Lolley obviously feels confident enough to report it on his blog. So, great news! Even though I'm not entirely convinced that Woodley is worth investing in long term, he certainly is an integral piece to the puzzle defensively in 2011. Here's what Lolley had to say about the transaction:
The Steelers' plan all along has been to franchise Woodley. Without a new CBA, the Steelers' hands were tied with Woodley in terms of negotiating a new deal.
Any deal he signed would have to have a base salary of no more than 120 percent of his base salary in 2010 – $550,000.
That meant the Steelers, to get a deal done, would have to give Woodley a ridiculous signing bonus to make up for the base salary.
That wasn't going to happen. So until a new CBA is in place, Woodley keeps the franchise tag.
Much more from me on Wednesday regarding this big piece of news. Kudos and thanks to Lolley for breaking the story and confidently sharing it with us fans waiting to hear if/when something would materialize on the Woodley front.
X - One of the more friendly media members while down in Dallas covering the Super Bowl was Pete Prisco of CBS Sports. Prisco has riled plenty of feathers with his 'call it likes he sees it' approach, and let's face it, every national columnist is going to get some hate mail from passionate fans, partly because fans get too emotional when they read something they disagree with, but also because it's hard to keep an incredibly close eye on all 32 teams.
Anyway, I smiled when I stumbled upon this short post from Prisco about his observations of Mike Tomlin in the immediate aftermath of the Steelers Super Bowl loss to Green Bay. Prisco shares two anecdotes, the first about how Tomlin waited for the last man out of the locker room, Shaun Suisham, to show support, solidarity and words of encouragement to Suisham before the kicker faced the media.
The other involved James Farrior, a man not much younger than Tomlin. Here's Prisco's account:
Snapshot two: An hour later Tomlin is walking his two young sons out of the locker room. Steelers linebacker James Farrior is standing near the door, and Tomlin gives one of his sons a lesson in being a man. "There's Mr. Farrior," Tomlin tells his kid. "Squeeze his hand and look him in the eye."
I have two sons of my own. I'd happily let them play for Mike Tomlin.
XIII - Looks like there will be a third installment of the 'Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament' this offseason. The fun event has been organized by Sean's Ramblings, a solid sports blog in its own right. The concept is simple. Sean creates a bracket with 32 Pittsburgh spots blogs -- some devoted to a particular team like the Steelers, Pirates or Penguins; others cover all the city's teams, with some pop culture thrown in there to boot. Anyway, kudos to Sean for getting this together once again. It's all in good fun and it exposes sports fans to sites they might not have otherwise known about. Go check out the bracket, and if you're so inclined, vote for Behind the Steel Curtain in it's first round matchup.
XIV - A Steelers legend leaves the broadcasting business to get into coaching. That legend would be Hall of Famer Rod Woodson, who recently accepted an offer to become the defensive backs coach of the Oakland Raiders. Steel Curtain Rising has the background information on the hire, as well as some commentary on the hire.
XL - For those of you who enjoy listening to podcasts/interviews, here's some listening material for your Wednesday. Not the biggest name guys on the Steelers roster, but both Doug Legursky and Mewelde Moore are free agents who likely have something to say about their desire to remain in Pittsburgh in '11 and beyond. As for Dawson, well, you won't find him sounding bitter, that's for sure. But it's always comforting to listen to one of the all-time great guys to play for the Steelers.
- Doug Legursky with Gerry Dulac at the PGH Auto Show (Part 1)...(Part 2)...(Part 3).
- Mewelde Moore with Joe Bendel at the PGH Auto Show (Part 1)...(Part 2)...(Part 3)
- Dermontti Dawson with Seibel, Starkey and Miller discussing Hall of Fame snub
XLIII - Still having a hard time getting over the Steelers failed attempt at winning Lombardi Trophy No. 7? You shouldn't be, but hey, to each his/her own. If you are, a Central Louisiana news outlet has a suggestion to help Steelers fans get you through their SB sorrows. That would be a beer brewed in Pennsylvania, The Old Heathen Imperial Stout. I'm not much of a stout guy. I suppose maryrose's philosophy of enjoying the journey rather than fixating on the final destination applies to my beer drinking proclivities. In other words, I'd prefer to drink a higher volume of beers spread out over the course of the evening rather than fewer but undeniably higher quality brews. Anyway, random link I know, but while we're on the subject, what beverage did/would you reach for in those (hopefully) rare instances in life when having a few drinks with friends seems like the best solution to get your mind off something disappointing?
Bonus Link: Because they've been respectful enough to ask for some help promoting their t-shirt designs rather than just spamming our fanposts with their products, here's a link to am outfit is called My Fresh Factory. Their latest shirts in particular are pretty cool, albeit more city of Pittsburgh than Steelers related in their themes.