As I was scouring through various sports news sites this morning looking for anything Steelers related, I found a multiple of articles pertaining to newly acquired Pittsburgh Steelers TE Eric Ebron, which makes total sense considering that Ebron is undoubtedly the highest profile free agency acquisition for the Steelers this offseason.
Admittedly I always strive to resist writing about subjects that might already be slightly over saturated, but one article in particular caught my attention. Seems that Eric Ebron took exception to a not-so-flattering evaluation of his abilities by a unnamed scout, reported by Pittsburgh sports radio personality Andrew Fillipponi.
Fillipponi quotes a "long time NFL scout" not so flattering evaluation of Ebron. The scout suggested that Ebron is basically the opposite of former Steelers TE Heath Miller, a beloved fan favorite. He said Ebron doesn't block, and that he doesn't stay quiet, and that we all should expect some fireworks as a result, warning everyone to prepare for more unnecessary drama.
Ebron obviously didn't take kindly to the insulting evaluation and predictably made his displeasure known. He responded with a sarcastic tweet congratulating the long time scout for being great at his job. I am sure he didn't appreciate being needlessly called out by a unnamed scout.
Unwittingly, he actually confirmed at least a portion of the scout's statement. He proved unwilling to quietly allow disparaging remarks to be made about his person. his occured before he has even had the chance to be officially announced a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, visit the facilities, be properly introduced to teammates and coaches, much less prove himself on the field of play. Kudos to him.
What possible benefit is there for Fillipponi to go on his radio show and quote one unnamed scout's opinion about one of the Steelers newest additions? What kind of impression does this make on Ebron, or any future free agents who might be weighing the pros and cons of signing with the Steelers one day in the future? This kind of unnecessary drama created by a small segment of the local media benefits no one in actuality.
Ebron can never be Heath Miller, he can only be Eric Ebron. He may not be the best blocker, but he seems willing and able. That's not what puts food on his table anyway. Ebron is an athletic, move tight end. He creates mismatches with his mobility and basketball-type abilities, especially in the red zone. The Steelers knew exactly what they were getting when they signed Ebron. He will occasionally drop a catchable pass, but also routinely makes the spectacular grab, particularly when in the red zone. Ebron could just be a focus issue that could improve with experience and coaching.
The Steelers are getting a former Pro Bowl TE on a team friendly deal, basically because his recent injury history drove down his market value. Had Ebron not suffered through injury and the unexpected retirement of Andrew Luck last season, no way the Steelers would have had a shot at signing him. There is some risk involved, as with any free agent, but he was definitely worth the gamble, especially for the price.
I suggest that all of Steelers’ Nation roll out the red carpet for the young man and welcome him to the Steelers’ family. That's how we do things around here, not question a man's character before he has even had the chance to make an impression. We are better than that, or at least I hope we are.