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Steelers News: Are the Steelers facing a brutal rebuild?

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

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-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 whether the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to be able to keep the train moving, or are they facing a ridiculously brutal rebuild up ahead?

Let’s get to the news:

Tim Benz: Steelers brass hated the word circus. What do they think of rebuild?

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

For two guys who didn’t want to admit the Steelers were a “circus,” they sure are doing a lot to tear down the big top.

Team president Art Rooney II bristled at references to the Black and Gold being a “circus” after a chaotic 2018 came to a disappointing close. It featured a season-long contractual absence from star running back Le’Veon Bell. And, at the time, former All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown still hadn’t been heard from since he was suspended for the club’s finale against Cincinnati.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s nonsense,” Rooney said on Jan. 16.

Before the season even began, general manager Kevin Colbert scoffed at the tag of “Team Turmoil” for the Steelers.

At the time, they were just a few months removed from a 2017 campaign that featured:

Martavis Bryant’s in-house social media suspension

• Brown’s Gatorade cooler toss

• Bell’s first training camp absence and ill-advised social media activity before the Jaguars playoff game

Ben Roethlisberger’s “maybe I don’t have it anymore” routine

• Todd Haley’s “Tequila Cowboy” incident

Marcus Gilbert’s four-game suspension for a banned substance

James Harrison’s release for insubordination

• A protest that put the franchise at the center of the entire national anthem firestorm

Just to name a few.

But those two men are right. Nothing out of the ordinary around these parts the last few seasons!

Even today, if you ask Colbert and Rooney on the record, they’ll probably take the same stance and say the same things they’ve been saying the last few seasons: “All teams deal with things like this … that’s just how it goes in modern professional sports … we’re just a year removed from 13-3 … we were just a few plays away from the playoffs.”

Off the record? Well, you don’t even need to ask them off the record. Their actions are speaking for them.

Bell is being turned loose on the free agent market. Brown is publicly on the trade block. Harrison was cut. Bryant was traded. Haley was fired. And loudmouth Mike Mitchell was dismissed, as well.

The circus is getting rid of its dancing bears.

(To read more, click the link in the headline...)

Football footnotes: Jets reportedly concerned about Le’Veon Bell’s weight

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Is that Le’Veon Bell or Jerome Bettis?

At least one team is worried about something besides Le’Veon Bell’s bank account getting too fat.

The Jets have long been a potential suitor for Bell if he should hit the open market. Now we know that will be the case after Kevin Colbert said Wednesday that the Steelers won’t use a transition tag on their former All-Pro running back.

Manish Mehta wrote in the New York Daily News that “the Jets would take Bell at the right price.”

It is unclear what that price would be, though. He reports Bell is going to ask for at least $48 million over the first three years.

That may push New York away based on two concerns.

Mehta says the first is that the team is worried about Bell’s “motivation after he lands a big pay day.”

Secondly, Mehta hears that Bell may have gotten too tubby during his year off.

“Word on the street is that Bell, who’s playing weight is about 225 pounds, ballooned to around 260 pounds at one point during his year-long hiatus,” he writes. “There’s a fair amount of concern from the Jets about what kind of shape he’s in at the moment.”

(To read more, click the link in the headline...)

Joe Starkey: Steelers’ ‘Killer B’s’ era a profound disappointment, mostly on account of bad luck

By: Joe Starkey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In the end — and the end is near, no matter what Kevin Colbert said about his wacky wide receiver Wednesday — the “Killer B’s” never got it done. Never won a Super Bowl together.

Didn’t come all that close, actually.

Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, who combined with Ben Roethlisberger to make up the “Killer B’s,” started and finished just three playoff games together.

That’s it: three full playoff games in six years (not including the 2016 AFC championship, when Bell was injured early). That’s not much of a postseason resume for two of the more talented and productive players in franchise history.

So this is where I’m supposed to rip them both to shreds and call them chronic underachievers, I know. But guess what?

Their lack of playoff success was more about bad luck than anything else.

Maybe that’s not the hot take you’re looking for. It doesn’t absolve either man of his transgressions here, either, and there were more than a few (especially on McKnight Road). But it’s true.

Let’s look at the year-by-year reality:

• In 2013, Bell’s rookie year, the Steelers weren’t very good and finished 8-8. And yet, they might have made the playoffs if not for an Emmanuel Sanders drop in Baltimore.

• In 2014, Reggie Nelson hit Bell low in the final regular-season game and knocked him out of the playoffs. The Steelers were helpless against the Ravens in a wild-card game that included Dri Archer literally running backward on one play.

• In 2015, Vontaze Burfict ended Bell’s season in Week 8 and Brown’s in the wild-card round. What are you gonna do? Neither man was available for the playoff game at Denver, which the Steelers seemed poised to win until Bell’s backup, Fitzgerald Toussaint, fumbled.

(To read more, click the link in the headline...)