Neal Coolong wrote about four Steelers retiring tonight at Latrobe Stadium during the Steelers annual Friday night practice. Willie Parker, Joey Porter, Aaron Smith and Marvel Smith were called to the middle of the field and their retirements as Steelers announced by Art Rooney II, Ken Corbett and Mike Tomlin in front of the team and over 20,000 fans who were in attendance. I had the good fortune of being one of those fans. I will include more details of this in a more extensive report of the Friday practice and related matters very soon. I will say for now that I was unaware that this was coming. Neal expressed regret at not being present, and if he had he would have openly weeped. Well, I can relate because that is exactly what I did.
Ben made national headlines this week by letting it drop that he had suffered a partially torn rotator cuff injury last November. The word from Steelers Camp is that the injury is now a non issue. But, just as the questions concerning how and whether Ben will learn to come to terms with the new Todd Haley offense simply will not go away, it is likely that this story will continue to be blown out of proportion unless and until irrefutable evidence is presented that demonstrates that Ben is in reasonably good health.
The new Steelers offensive coordinator has been conducting a lot of interviews lately, talking about the new offense, the running backs and the performance of Willie Colon. Wide receiver Antonio Brown also chipped in some positive comments about Haley this week as well.
There has been a lot of talk since the spring as to whether the Steelers now have an Pro Bowl, or even an All Pro caliber player at guard. There has been some continuing talk in that regard now, but it may not be the player that you think. Many within the Steelers organization as well as many of the team's fans have felt that Colon's talents are more suited to playing guard rather than tackle. Colon has been in the forefront of the Nation's consciousness ever since he blew up linebacker Lawrence Timmons during a drill last week. With so much attention centered upon the youth movement on the offensive line, it is becoming clearer that the most impressive player of what is likely to be the first string of that group is the one player who is a savvy veteran trying to master a new position.
In what must be a nightmare scenario for Browns fans, the team is in the process of being sold to a Steelers guy. Steelers minority owner Jimmy Haslem the III has purchased the Browns and will presumably apply whatever he has learned as being part of the Pittsburgh ownership team to the stumbling franchise in northern Ohio.
Generally speaking I don't have much use for the national media when it comes to the intricacies of the management of the Steelers franchise. In addition, like most of you I've probably had enough of the topic as well. But Jason La Canfora was so spot on about this situation that I couldn't let it pass. In particular he brings a much needed sense of perspective into this whole mess. Many in Steeler Nation wax eloquently about what a class organization the Rooneys run with the Steelers. Yet many of these same people are pushing a petty revenge fantasy concerning the motivation and timing of the Antonio Brown contract extension; stating that the Rooneys were delivering an 'Eff You' to Wallace by signing Brown. Classy? Hardly.
What is happening is that the Pittsburgh organization plays a very good game of chess while most of the rest of us are playing checkers. To be sure, Mike Wallace is being a bit of an idiot here. Fortunately, what the FO never loses sight of is that this is a business, and at the end of the day this is nothing but business; and good business decisions at that. So much of the discussions about this situation are governed by short sightedness and, quite frankly, spite. You don't win six Lombardi's and successfully pursue a seventh running your affairs in that manner.
Ivan will be offering his observations on a regular basis on Fridays in the Tribune-Review. Why does this sound familiar?
Peter King did this piece on a talk that Brown gave to his team in the 1970s. Its great stuff that I wanted to include in last week's Check Down but it slipped between the cracks.