IX -- The NFL announced the compensatory picks for the 2011 NFL Draft on Friday. 23 teams were awarded a total of 32 picks, all of them between the third and seventh round. The Steelers were not one of those teams, meaning they'll enter April's draft with seven picks, one in each of the seven rounds. With the compensatory picks now announced, you can download the entire 2011 NFL Draft order at this link.
X -- Surprise, surprise. Hines Ward's competitive juices have started to kick in now that he's survived the initial butterflies of debuting on Dancing With the Stars. Ward sounds like he's having a ball with the competition, no pun intended. Here was the quote from Ward's interview on 93.7 The Fan that struck me te most -- a comment about how former Steelers greats flew out to LA to support him in person:
But having Jerome [Bettis], Franco [Harris] and Mel [Blount] there, those are the key guys of our organization — to have them there along with my mom and her best friends meant a great deal to me. I think it speaks a lot for our organization that they came out from the east coast to the west coast to show their support. So it was just awesome. It was a great night.
XIII - Not that Chuck Noll's legacy will ever be in any sort of jeopardy in the city of Pittsburgh, but pending a vote on funding early next week, a new North Shore street will be named after the most decorated of Steelers' coaches.
Chuck Noll Way would connect North Shore Drive and West General Robinson Street, cutting through what is now a parking lot east of Heinz Field.
It would be roughly the length of a city block and run in front of Stage AE, an indoor-outdoor concert hall that opened in December. The Steelers teamed with Columbus-based developer Continental Real Estate Cos. to build the $12 million entertainment venue with help from a $2.5 million state grant.
XIV - Here's a good read about Ryan Mundy and his life being affected by the ongoing NFL Lockout. Mundy, who's set to tie the knot with his fiance in April of 2012, is currently not under contract with the Steelers, and unable to apply for a home loan as a result of not having proof of income at the moment.
Mundy is no stranger to not knowing when or where his next check is coming from. As a rookie, the Woodland Hills graduate was released by the Steelers after being injured in a preseason game and later signed as a member of their practice squad. Mundy made the veteran minimum of $395,000 last season, plus another $101,000 in playoff and Super Bowl XLV bonuses. He's not poor, but he's also not rich.
Not that any of us would mind making a half-million dollars before taxes.
Mundy is a prime example of why football fans should pull for the players. He's engaged to be married in April 2012 and would like to keep Pittsburgh as his hometown. But his two-year contract has expired and, although Mundy is optimistic he will re-sign with the Steelers, he has no guarantees. That's why he has put off a search to buy a home or condominium here.
XL -- Veteran special teams ace Madison is another guy not under contract at the moment, still took a few moments on Thursday to talk about how he sees the new rule changes affecting kickoffs next year. Essentially Madison believes that there will still be ample opportunity for return specialists to leave their mark on the game.
XLIII -- Not sure how I stumbled across this actually, but this recent fanpost on the SB Nation NYG blog Big Blue View, made me think the same question: 'which current players will retire as Pittsburgh Steelers?' Who do you think?