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Remembering the Steelers' Joel Steed

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I mentioned in my introductory blurb to acrollet's post that I was interested in some Steelers talk today. Though there's no real developments to speak of, I thought I'd start what I hope is a series of posts in the future from all of us about some of our favorite players from years past. I'll start it off with former NT Joel Steed. Before there was Casey Hampton and his incredible ability to clog up running lanes in the middle, there was Joel Steed, an equally large and intimidating force in the trenches. Steed, who was drafted in 1992 by the Steelers in the 3rd Round out of Colorado, spent his entire nine year career in the 'Burgh before hanging it up after the 1999 season. Though he didn't get much recognition at the time, probably because he was playing alongside Kevin Greene, Gregg Lloyd, Rod Woodson, Carnell Lake, Levon Kirkland and other big-name stars, Steed, like Hampton, cleared the way for much of those guys' success. Let's take a look at the Steelers' ability to stop the run during the Joel Steed era:  

League Rank Against The Run:
1992 = 17th
1993 = 3rd
1994 = 7th
1995 = 2nd
1996 = 3rd
1997 = 1st (Steed's 1st and only Pro Bowl year)
1998 = 13th
1999 = 26th (alas, time for the organization to bring in younger, fresher blood in the middle)

Does that look like a man that you would want to be tackled by? Didn't think so

The one blemish on Steed's career, that honestly I had totally forgotten about, was his 4 game suspension in 1995 for a steroids violation. First of all, interesting to get that confirmation that steroids were making their way through the league that early on (though truthfully, they were probably around far earlier), and secondly, it's interesting that the penalties for doing so were very much similar to what they are now. The NFL is lauded for its drug-testing program now, but interesting to see that some system was in place over a decade ago, and that the basic structure doesn't really seem to be all that different now than it was then.

But that's not the point of this piece. This was supposed to be a short tribute to one of the key components to our defense in the 1990s. Sure, it wasn't the 'Steel Curtain' then, but it was a fantastic unit that had many players come and go at many positions. One of the mainstays though, was Joel Steed, a great player and a 'true' Steeler.