It is July, which means football is right around the corner. July 27th the Pittsburgh Steelers report to Latrobe, PA for another training camp. Although we still have a few weeks of the “dog days” of the NFL offseason, it doesn’t mean there isn’t news to still be discussed.
We take you around the world wide web to give you your daily dose of black and gold, along with making BTSC your one-stop-shop for all things Steelers.
Bruce Arians reflects on golf trip he says changed Ben Roethlisberger — Ray Fittipaldo — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
...Another interesting one was the role Arians played in 2005 when he served as “protector” for Whisenhunt. Arians said head coach Bill Cowher openly questioned Whisenhunt’s play calls over the headsets during games. Arians described a meeting with Cowher when he confronted the head coach about his actions.
Bill would hear a play call from Ken and say something like, “Here comes a fumble.” I eventually went into Bill’s office and explained that the head coach can’t undercut the confidence of the play caller. I said to him “You don’t want him calling plays to please you. You want him to call plays to beat the other team. I’ve heard you say ‘Oh my God’ on the headset after a play call. You can’t do that. You need to concentrate on your job and Kenny needs to concentrate on his job.”
Arians wrote Cowher stopped undercutting Whisenhunt after that meeting, and that allowed Whisenhunt to have the confidence to call plays freely the rest of the season, including the reverse pass from Antwaan Randle El to Hines Ward that sealed the victory in Super Bowl XL a few months later.
But Arians doesn’t always have his facts straight. For instance, he said the reverse pass in the Super Bowl was the first time that play had been called all year. The Steelers actually called the same play in a November 2005 game against the Cleveland Browns when Charlie Batch and Tommy Maddox subbed for an injured Roethlisberger.
He also mistakenly writes that Ward and Burress were on the 2005 Super Bowl team when, in fact, Burress had moved onto the Giants as a free agent following the 2004 season.
But there are plenty of Steelers stories to stay interested in the 235-page book that also touches on his time with other quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer.
Arians, as he did previously on NFL Films, wrote that he was extremely upset with Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin after Tomlin did not go to bat for him in the now infamous post-2011 “retirement” saga. Arians’ wife, Chris, cried when Arians broke the news to her that the Steelers did not renew his contract because she held Tomlin “on a pedestal.”
Interestingly, in the next paragraph, Arians made a point to write at the end of the chapter on the Steelers that he still holds Dan Rooney on a pedestal:
The Steelers owner, who passed away in April 2017, was one of the classiest men in all of football. May he rest in peace.
But I was bitter for a long time about being fired. But now I thank Pittsburgh for letting me go. Otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to coach Andrew Luck or had the opportunity to become the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
So thank you, Pittsburgh.
Thank you so, so much.
It's a crucial week for Le'Veon Bell and the Steelers — Ray Fittipaldo — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
There is a chance the Steelers and Le’Veon Bell will come to terms on a long-term contract this week. But recent history suggests if Bell does sign a long-term deal, it will be done only after a high-stakes game of chicken that ends shortly before 4 p.m. July 17.
In the world of NFL contract negotiations, deadlines induce teams and players to come together. Almost every recent player who has had the franchise tag placed on him has signed his new contract hours, if not minutes, before the deadline.
In 2015, the two highest-profile players who were tagged came to terms on a long-term contract just hours before the deadline. Dallas receiver Dez Bryant agreed to a five-year, $70 million deal one hour before the deadline, and Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas agreed to a nearly identical deal just 45 minutes before the deadline.
Last summer, Denver linebacker Von Miller, Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker and New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson signed deals and avoided the franchise tag. Those negotiations also went down to the last hours before the deadline.
Bell will play the 2017 season for $12.12 million if a deal is not struck by next Monday’s deadline. That’s where things could get tricky for the Steelers.
Led by Bell and Ezekiel Elliott of Dallas, running backs are resurgent in a league that has devalued the position in the past two decades. And now, Bell has a chance to reset the market for backs.
Bell isn’t likely to average $12.12 million over the life of a long-term contract — at least not with the Steelers — but he will by far surpass Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy, who was the league’s highest-paid back last season at $8 million per season.
It’s not an easy negotiation for that reason, and it’s the reason the possibility exists that Bell could play the season on the one-year franchise tag...
The story behind the Tom Brady Stanley Cup photo — Mike Florio — ProFootballTalk
A mild stir was created in Pittsburgh over the weekend when a photo emerged of locally-despised Patriots quarterback Tom Brady posing with his hand on the Stanley Cup, which the Penguins won for the second straight time (fifth overall) in June. Many wondered why and how the man most responsible for keeping the Steelers from getting their seventh Super Bowl trophy (and maybe their eighth or ninth) was in such close proximity to hockey’s biggest prize.
Via NHL.com, Brady was at the Southern California home of Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle. The billionaire, who bought an unknown share of the team in 1999 with Mario Lemieux, and Brady are close friends, we’re told. So the Stanley Cup was at Burkle’s house and Brady was at Burkle’s house and one thing led to another and the photo of Brady and the Stanley Cup emerged.
Although that helps explain why Brady was close enough to the Stanley Cup to touch it, chances are that Steelers and Penguins fans won’t be feeling any better about the fact that Brady was in such close proximity to Pittsburgh’s proudest temporary (for two straight years and maybe three) possession.