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Pittsburgh Steelers Fact or Fiction: Big Ben’s window and Elvis edition

BTSC takes five burning questions regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers and labels them as fact or fiction.

NFL: AFC Wild Card Round-Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

There’s always so much to talk about when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But the inquiries surrounding the black-and-gold are definitely ever-evolving, especially this week Big Ben positively on the mic and the visit of Malik Hooker to Pittsburgh. It seems like the musical selection that best fits this week’s Fact or Fiction could be the Elvis classic, It’s Now or Never.

Here’s a sample...

It’s now or never

Come hold me tight

Kiss me my darling

Be mine tonight

Tomorrow will be too late

It’s now or never

My love won’t wait

When I first saw you

With your smile so tender

My heart was captured

My soul surrendered

I’d spend a lifetime

Waiting for the right time

Now that you’re near

The time is here at last

You can ponder the significance or wonder whether these lyrics are really related here. Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to listen to some classic “King”. But anyhow, there is surely a lot to wonder about. BTSC tries to answer some of the poignant wonderings ahead of time. Take a listen to some bold statements on this and more as we label them as fact or fiction.

Are we on point? Only time will tell.


Malik Hooker signing with the Steelers is most likely going to happen

Fiction

Just like J.J. Watt a few months back, Karl Joseph more than a few weeks ago and Ryan Kerrigan just about two weeks ago, Malik Hooker is another first round defensive player that the Steelers have been in the running for or highly linked to. But as is the case with the players that I just noted, none of that triumphant trio signed with the Steelers. Watt went for big bucks to Arizona, Joseph signed for a second stint with the Raiders and Kerrigan fled to Philly, reportedly with a desire to stay in the NFC North. Hooker, when healthy, is a dynamic defender and would be a great find for the Steelers possibly. However he has already visited Miami and Dallas. You definitely have to wonder why he left those locales without a deal. The Steelers have some things to consider and so does Malik. It could be a matter of finances or concerns over an injury. I think the stable of Hooker, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds and Miles Killebrew would promise to be phenomenal. But with so many players that supposedly spurned donning the black and gold, why would this be any different?


Ben Roethlisberger will ignore Matt Canada and run the offense his way

Fiction

A lot of fans don’t think that the Steelers quarterback will be able to run the faster-paced scheme that will be at the forefront in 2021. However, the offense in the first five games of the season in 2020 had high traces of Canada influence and it worked indeed. The enhanced offense will include a lot of motion and No. 7 to be back under center quite a bit. For those that don’t think that Big Ben will be compliant and merely do what he is comfortable, please remember that the quarterback would have not returned had he not had conferences with Mike Tomlin and Canada. An agreement would have had to have been in place initially. Also realize that Canada will adjust his scheme to the strengths of his personnel. He has a history of doing so and will continue to do so in the Steel City. As far as Roethlisberger goes, he’s in “win-now” mentality.


Roethlisberger’s high praise for new teammates needs to be more than just lip service

Fact

It’s great to hear that Ben Roethlisberger is praising some of his new teammates. Whether he’s bragging on Dwayne Haskins’ arm strength or raving about the versatility of Najee Harris... it’s refreshing to see. Seven has thrown players under the bus in the past and hasn’t been welcoming of other quarterbacks. Mason Rudolph definitely comes to mind. But Ben wants to win now and admitted last week that his window has a narrow opening. He’s going to say all the right things. But for them to be effective, they most certainly need to be genuine.


2021 is a pivotal season already for Diontae Johnson

Fact

Depending the service that you subscribe to, Diontae Johnson could have had 16 drops last season or 13. No matter the exact amount, the act of leaving footballs lying on the turf was perpetrated way too often by the Steelers’ second-year receiver. The drops by DJ18 were way too prevalent and led the league last year. A lot of fans and media have already discounted No. 18 and mentally moved on. But know that Tyreek Hill had around 14 drops last year if you combine the regular season with the postseason. Johnson, after being benched in Buffalo, responded in a positive manner and was perfect afterwards. But the fact remains that a repeat of last years drop-fest will really hinder Johnson’s career. So the receiver will definitely be under the microscope and could be at a crossroads this early.


Tunch Ilkin will be known as one of the greatest voices in Pittsburgh Steelers history

Fact

After 14 years as a player and 23 more as a team broadcaster, Tunch Ilkin is stepping away from the Pittsburgh Steelers because of a diagnosis of ALS that was revealed last fall. “I want to spend this time focusing on my treatment and fighting this disease,” said the black-and-gold legend. Ilkin had so many great moments in the broadcast booth over the years with professionals such as Bill Hillgrove, Myron Cope and Craig Wolfley. With greats like those mentioned above and Jack Fleming who came before, it would be impossible to not include Tunch as one if the all-time great Steel City voices. This terrible disease is taking that voice away and this is a source of great sadness for Steeler Nation.


Check out the Fact or Fiction podcast to learn even more about these topics every single week and listen for more on the player below.