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 days of the “dog days” of the NFL offseason left, 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.
RB Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Scholarship Offers: Four (Michigan State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Marshall)
Scouting Report: "Bell has the size for the running back position at the major level of competition; however his playing speed will be a concern as he lacks the burst and second gear necessary to break out of the pack for long gains. Lines up as a deep back showing adequate quickness and vision approaching the line of scrimmage; more of a straight line runner with an upright style; must learn to run over his pads when in traffic. ... Flashes limited receiving skills which if they can be developed will improve his value. Bell does not project high at the BCS level of play."
Le'Veon Bell is not the same player today as the one who committed to the Michigan State Spartans out of high school or even the one who ran for 1,793 yards as a junior to warrant a second-round draft selection. He completely reshaped his body and turned himself into the game's premier all-around back.
The original scouting report was right. Bell was a bigger back without a top gear, and he lacked lateral agility. He was rarely asked to be much more than an outlet receiver in the Spartans' run-heavy offensive scheme. Instead, he became a battering ram who carried the ball 382 times during his final season on campus.
Michigan State's official site listed Bell at 237 pounds. He dropped down to 230 pounds by the NFL combine. He's now closer to 225 pounds. The sleeker version of Bell is far superior to the one many saw coming through the ranks.
One key trait came with Bell from Michigan State to the Pittsburgh Steelers: patience. The running back's ability not to panic behind his offensive line and identify the hole makes him special. The difference today is his burst to come through the other side of the hole.
The Steelers also love to utilize Bell out of the backfield. In four seasons, he already caught 227 passes. Alongside quarterback Ben Roethlisbergerand wide receiver Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh features the NFL's best set of triplets.
In less than two weeks John Huemmy's restaurant business will be back in the embrace of financial security.
Football fans will begin pouring into nearby St. Vincent College in Latrobe to attend Steelers training camp, and many of them will stop by Sharky's Cafe on Route 30 to grab chicken wings, fish tacos or the Roethlisburger, a limited-run sandwich.
"Training camp sets us apart and sets us financially for the rest of the year into next year — just by (the camp) alone," Huemmy said Friday. "I know that it does that for a lot of the service industries in the area."
Steelers equipment managers began preparing for camp Friday, setting up locker rooms and storage rooms around campus.
Stacie Molina, who co-owns Touchdown Club II, a restaurant at the intersection of Theatre Street and Route 30, said she looks forward to training camp every year.
"Training camp brings out a lot of local people that really don't go out, maybe in the hopes of catching a glimpse of, you know, Big Ben," she said.
In promotional brochures, a U.S. company boasted of the “stunning visual effect” its shimmering aluminum panels created in an NFL stadium, an Alaskan high school and a luxury hotel along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor that “soars 33 stories into the air.”
Those same panels — Reynobond composite material with a polyethylene core — also were used in the Grenfell Tower apartment building in London. British authorities say they’re investigating whether the panels helped spread the blaze that ripped across the building’s outer walls, killing at least 80 people.
The panels, also called cladding, accentuate a building’s appearance and also improve energy efficiency. But they are not recommended for use in buildings above 40 feet because they are combustible. In the wake of last month’s fire at the 24-story, 220-foot-high tower in London, Arconic Inc. announced it would no longer make the product available for high-rise buildings.
Determining which buildings might be wrapped in the material in the United States is difficult. City inspectors and building owners might not even know. In some cases, building records have been long discarded and neither the owners, operators, contractors nor architects involved could or would confirm whether the cladding was used.
That makes it virtually impossible to know whether such structures as the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront hotel — identified by Arconic’s brochures as wrapped in Reynobond PE — are actually clad in the same material as Grenfell Tower, which was engulfed in flames in less than five minutes.
At a Thursday news conference that followed the publication of The Associated Press’ story on the use of the cladding material in the U.S., Cleveland’s chief building official confirmed that panels on the city-owned Cleveland Browns’ football stadium are “similar if not identical” to those used on the doomed London tower, but said they pose “zero risk to the fans.”
Thomas Vanover said the panels were installed differently and that the venue’s overall cladding includes many materials.
“From these panels and this installation, there’s no risk of anything remotely close to the Grenfell tragedy,” Mr. Vanover said.
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