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Steelers News: James Conner enters the 2019 season as a leader, not just a backup

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

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2019 NFL Draft in the rear view mirror, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2019 season is fast approaching, and the news surrounding the black-and-gold is far from over. As the team now turns their attention to more offseason workouts, OTAs and minicamp, there is no shortage of news.

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how James Conner is entering the 2019 season as the hands-down leader of the running backs, rather than the situation he was in last season when he was in a holding pattern waiting for Le’Veon Bell.

Let’s get to the news:

  • James Conner has to feel like a new man entering 2019. Le’Veon Bell isn’t hovering over him, and the rest of the running backs, but it is Conner’s room.

Steelers OTA preview: James Conner leads young group of RBs

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Heading into the start of OTAs, the Tribune-Review has taken a daily look at a position that will bear watching once the entire 91-man roster convenes at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

Today’s final installment: Running back

Who’s back: James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, Roosevelt Nix, Trey Edmunds, Ralph Webb

At this time last year, Conner was supposed to be keeping the seat warm until Le’Veon Bell returned for the start of the season. That, of course, never transpired, and Conner became the starter by default. This year, he heads into OTAs with the starting job based on merit after rushing for 973 yards and totaling 1,470 from scrimmage. Samuels had a memorable game against the New England Patriots when he rushed for 142 yards, showing he is a capable replacement. Nix returns at fullback and provides a strong blocking presence if the Steelers choose to use him. He was on the field for fewer than 10 percent of all offensive snaps last year. Edmunds was promoted from the practice squad late in the year, and Webb finished the year on the practice squad.

Who’s gone: Le’Veon Bell, Stevan Ridley

To read the full article, click HERE

  • Who should you be watching when the Steelers start OTAs today?

5 players to watch heading into Steelers OTAs

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

When the Pittsburgh Steelers convene Tuesday at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex for the first of 10 OTA sessions, they are expected to have 91 players on hand.

Here are five who will be in the spotlight over the next month:

1. Ben Roethlisberger. It won’t just be what Roethlisberger says when he arrives for OTAs – he hasn’t spoken to the media horde since the end of the season – it will be about how long he sticks around this spring.

Last year, Roethlisberger showed up for the first OTA session and then missed the next seven because of a previously scheduled family vacation. This apparently upset Antonio Brown, who also left town after seeing that his quarterback wasn’t practicing with the team.

This year, with Brown playing in Oakland, Roethlisberger can use OTAs to build a rapport with newcomers Donte Moncrief, Diontae Johnson and tight end Zach Gentry while continuing to develop chemistry with second-year receiver James Washington.

To read the full article, click HERE

  • T.J. Watt, and his two brothers, are going to be TV hosts in 2020, and he talks about what the show will look like.

Watt: ‘The show is its own sport’

By: Teresa Varley,

T.J. Watt and his brothers, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Chargers fullback Derek Watt, grew up playing sports and games against each other in the backyard in their home in Wisconsin.

Now they have taken that love of competing to a new level. And it’s not just the NFL level.

The Watt brothers are producers and hosts for “Ultimate Tag,” which will air on FOX in early 2020.

“The show is its own sport,” said T.J. Watt. “Tag is a game that everyone grew up playing. That is what makes it so universal to everybody. Everybody is going to be able to relate to getting chased down. As frightening as that feeling is, especially when it’s professional taggers.

“The basis of the show is there is a group of professional taggers who are hard-core taggers. They are just crazy athletes who can jump super high, run really fast, and get over obstacles really quickly. There are contestants trying to get away from the taggers, and J.J., Derek and I are just hosting the show and bickering back and forth with each other, having a fun time.

To read the full article, click HERE

  • Sometimes members of the Steelers do some good stuff in the community. It is only right we share that as well as the controversial stuff too!

Dobbs: ‘It’s been a blast’

By: Teresa Varley,

Throughout the offseason Dobbs has been going to Carnegie Library in Hazelwood to visit with the kids taking part in the Pittsburgh Police Chess Club, teaching them not just about the game, but life in general.

“It’s been a blast,” said Dobbs. “I was in chess club. I remember those days, going to chess club after school, learning about chess and the mental approach that it takes to understand the board, understand your opponent, and be a successful chess player. To be able to go, show my chess experience and play against the kids, I enjoy it.

“The last time I went they had a young kid named Homer and they said he is really good at chess you should play him first. The first time I went, I beat everyone, I beat the kids, and I beat a couple of mentors. I was undefeated. I was feeling good about my game. This little seven year old came in and beat me in like 10 minutes. I think he wiped the board. After they said his dad is a professor at Carnegie Mellon and was a great player growing up and he is better than his dad. He is a chess protégé. It was a humbling experience.”

To read the full article, click HERE

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