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Steelers News: The time when Art Rooney II speaks, yet says nothing at all

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Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season is over, but if you think the news surrounding the black-and-gold is over — think again. For the drama-filled Steelers, things are just heating up, and this is where the daily links article comes in. You might have missed some key news, and we fill you in and give you the latest, and sometimes greatest, news surrounding the Steelers.

Today in the Black-and-gold links article we take a look at how on Wednesday Steelers Team President Art Rooney II spoke to the media, went on KDKA in Pittsburgh and even joined the crew at Steelers Live. He did a lot of talking, but what might be the most notable is how he said very little.

Maybe he is learning from Mike Tomlin, or vice versa, but those who were hanging to every word waiting for something significant — were left hanging.

Let’s get to the news:

Tim Benz: Art Rooney II’s take on Steelers ‘circus’ is pure ‘nonsense’

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II had his annual season-ending powwow with the team’s local print outlets Wednesday.

He made one comment that was so far from true, it couldn’t see the truth with the Hubble telescope.

Rooney was asked about the perception that his team is a circus and full of distractions.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s nonsense,” Rooney said .

I’m told he actually made that statement with a straight face and with no fingers crossed.

This year alone, the team’s helicopter-ridin’ star wide receiver skipped practices and meetings — twice — and was sent home for the season finale. He mocked the coach on Instagram with a former team icon, too.

In between those moments, Antonio Brown set a new land-speed record on McKnight Road, threatened a reporter, accused another of racism, threw another sideline tantrum and was in the news for throwing furniture off a balcony.

That team icon — James Harrison — has been on a crusade to undermine coach Mike Tomlin’s authority. Yet he was brought back to Heinz Field for the Super Bowl XLIII 10th anniversary celebration and was given a standing ovation on Rooney’s field.

Another team legend — Rocky Bleier — declared he was “done” with the team on Facebook, then recanted. The starting quarterback openly questioned the draft and criticized his receivers on a few occasions.

All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell seemingly welched on an assumed plan to play on a franchise tag, tied up $14.5 million in unpaid cap space and then spent the next few months intermittently mocking the club, laughing at his absence from it and flirting with other organizations.

Meanwhile, his teammates ripped the running back and raided his locker in front of the media.

On the field, the kicker who signed a five-year contract extension in the offseason had a season-long meltdown, and the team blamed an X-ray machine for a loss against the awful Oakland Raiders while gagging away a 7-2-1 record to miss the playoffs.

After that, valued offensive line coach Mike Munchak jumped ship for the same job in Denver, and outside linebackers coach Joey Porter was fired.

Following Porter’s dismissal, reports — from someone who works for the team’s website, radio network and flagship station — were that Porter “was trying to pit the defense against the offense in a divisive manner.”

That was just in 2018.

(For more, click the link in the headline above...)

Steelers brace for ‘tough’ reality of losing top talent

By: Jeremy Fowler, ESPN

No need to tell Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II about the difficulties of finding transcendent talents.

He has seen three absurdly good players -- linebacker Ryan Shazier, wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell -- lead his team to victories only to leave the lineup, potentially for good.

When asked about losing top-15 players such as these, Rooney acknowledged the obvious with the trade discussion around Brown: Talent prevails.

“That’s one reason why we haven’t made any decisions on Antonio yet,” Rooney said in a Wednesday interview with a small group of local reporters.

Loose translation: All-Pros are really hard to find, no matter how difficult. That’s why any exchange for Brown must produce serious draft capital. And the Steelers are hemorrhaging top talent. As a result, this offseason is shaping up to be a test of mettle for an organization that must strengthen the roster on the fly.

The loss of Shazier to a severe spinal injury in late 2017, coupled with Bell’s yearlong holdout and the seemingly inevitable trade of Brown, are nearly impossible to replace on the surface. Shazier wants to continue rehabbing for a return to football, and the Steelers plan to help him with that, but he’s not in the plans for the 2019 roster.

To be sure, the Steelers are good enough to win games without those players. And quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who’s due an extension this offseason, gives Pittsburgh a chance in every game.

With a little creativity, they can be right back in contention.

They have $27.72 million in salary-cap space, according to OverTheCap.com. They can create more with roster cuts and restructuring the final year on Roethlisberger’s deal.

”We have a lot to things to evaluate,” Rooney said. “Having a little extra cap space always helps, that’s for sure.”

Rooney said the Steelers feel good about their running-back lineup with “two good, young players” in James Conner and Jaylen Samuels. The Steelers haven’t made a firm decision on whether to place the franchise tag on Bell for a third consecutive year, but Conner made a Pro Bowl in his first season as a starter and Samuels is a natural pass-catcher. They can roll with those two players if Bell’s situation has become too explosive.

”We feel like we’re in pretty good shape there,” Rooney said. “The linebacker position is still something we need to address. It’s a challenge, no doubt about it.”

(For more, click the link in the headline above...)

Uncertainty remains after Art Rooney II addresses Steelers offseason plans

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

In the wake of a nightmare collapse for his team, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II held his annual meeting with Pittsburgh-area beat writers.

Joe Rutter was our representative for Trib. He joined me for our podcast.

Rooney said one thing in particular that I couldn’t believe. I shared my thoughts on that with Joe.

We also tackled Rooney’s view of an extension for head coach Mike Tomlin.

LISTEN: Recapping Art Rooney’s meeting with Steelers reporters

The owner also discusses the future — or lack thereof — for Antonio Brown in Pittsburgh and the state of the coaching staff.

Le’Veon Bell’s status is still uncertain. And the team has no idea what it is going to do about Ryan Shazier.

Aside from that, it sounds like everything is under control.