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Pittsburgh Steelers Fact or Fiction: Live and learn and love edition

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

Dallas Cowboys v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

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 with the Steelers making moves that they wouldn’t have made in the past and the loss of a legend. But anyhow, there is surely a lot to wonder about. BTSC tries to answer some of the poignant wonderings ahead of time. It seems like the musical selection that best fits this week’s Fact or Fiction could be from Alanis Morissette.

Here’s a sample...

I recommend biting off more then you can chew to anyone

I certainly do

I recommend sticking your foot in your mouth at any time

Feel free

Throw it down (the caution blocks you from the wind)

Hold it up (to the rays)

You wait and see when the smoke clears

You live you learn

You love you learn

You cry you learn

You lose you learn

You bleed you learn

You scream you learn

Are these lyrics really related here? Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to listen to some Canadian 90s angst pop. But anyhow, there is surely a lot to wonder about. Take a look at some bold statements on this and more as we label them as fact or fiction.

Are we on point? Only time will tell.


The Steelers retention of four running backs, as well as a fullback, signals that Mike Tomlin isn’t planning to run the wheels off of Najee Harris

Fact

The operative word is planning. We know about the great performances of Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall, Le’Veon Bell and James Conner at the running back position under Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh. We also know Tomlin’s preference for a “bell cow” over a run game by committee. We also are well aware of the “wheels being run off” of each one of said players in that aforementioned quartet. There is great anticipation and excitement surrounding Najee Harris, but there is great concern that the Steelers will run another great back into the ground. By keeping Harris, Benny Snell Jr., Kalen Ballage, Anthony McFarland (on IR) and Derek Watt on the 53 and Trey Edmunds and Jaylen Samuels on the practice squad, it makes one wonder if there will be a change in philosophy when it comes to the run game. Past history makes me skeptical, but in many ways it seems that management is paying close attention to the history books.


Trading for a nickel cornerback and not Ahkello Witherspoon was more necessary for the Steelers

Fiction

I actually like this deal alot. I don’t care about next year’s draft right now. If the Steelers trade with Seattle of a fifth rounder in 2023 and a possible comp pick loss in 2022 solidifies the secondary, then all will be well. The Steelers need help at nickel and Witherspoon doesn’t solve that particular problem whatsoever, but he could parallel the play of the departed Steven Nelson quite well. Maybe Justin Layne and James Pierre were deemed not ready for primetime on the outside, but Witherspoon does have the resume’ to shine. The Steelers will find a way to fix the nickel position with a pool of players in the secondary. They might not do it in the way that we desire, but way more often than not, we find Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin know what they have in house so much better than we do.


Chris Wormley will become another Tyson Alualu in 2021

Fact

There were a lot of naysayers when the Steelers acquired Chris Wormley from rival Baltimore in March of 2021. After dealing with injuries early on, the former third rounder from Michigan didn’t get a chance to shine too brightly for the black and gold last season. But with Stephon Tuitt injured all preseason and now on IR going into the regular slate of games, a strong showing by Wormley like he’s had in camp and preseason action is needed. The Steelers don’t really want to have to live life without Tuitt, but if No. 95 can shine in his stead, much like Alualu has done many a time since 2017...a low profile acquisition could quite become a valuable depth piece.


The Steelers are making a mistake not handing the TE1 job to Pat Friermuth

Fiction

The reports of Eric Ebron’s demise in Pittsburgh are ridiculous to me. I get it seven dropped passes in 2020. Sure that’s seven more than we want out of any player, but the guy is still pretty solid out there and despite what most athletic supporters of the Steelers think, the dude showed in preseason that he can definitely block too. But we, as fans, seem to pigeonhole guys in a big way early and often. Ebron is not Travis Kelce or Heath Miller. But he’s going to be valuable this year in the success of the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger and Pat Friermuth. Ebron is one of No. 88’s biggest supporters and the rookie from PSU is going to be a great one for the Steelers. However, if the spotlight remains on Ebron, everybody has the opportunity to shine.


You would be hard-pressed to find a better person than Tunch Ilkin

Fact

Everybody involved with the Pittsburgh Steelers, whether it be media, anyone in the organization, opponents, and fans are taking the news of the passing of the beloved player, broadcaster and ambassador of the Steers Tunch Ilkin. Stories of Ilkin’s gallantry, class and faith have been out there and well known for decades, but the remembrances since No. 62’s death was announced were not fake. I read countless tweets about instances of Tunch asking about a fellow or competing media personality’s ailing family member and leading a prayer. On his radio show with Craig Wolfley, they made callers (including this author once) feel valuable and never chastised a wayward opinion. Tunch was not a Pro Football Hall of Famer, but that doesn’t matter whatsoever. Though when it comes to being a quality human being, Tunch Ilkin was first ballot all the way.


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.