Posted on: January 9, 2012 10:14 am

Hines Ward to retire?

Did Hines Ward play his last game? It appears he might have. A Steelers player texted to me the expectations around the team was that Ward would soon announce his retirement. That doesn't mean it's set he will. That means some Steelers players believe it which means it's likely to happen.

Ward is a different sort of dude. He could decide to hang on for one more year. But for the moment that doesn't seem to be the case.

Ward is clearly done physically. He just doesn't have the burst he once did. He was held without a catch against the Broncos and has become an afterthought in the Pittsburgh offense.

Yet, to me, he's a sure Hall of Famer. He became only the eighth wide receiver to reach 1,000 catches, had a lengthy and productive career, and won championships. He was one of the toughest receivers I've ever seen.

And it appears we've seen the last of Ward in the NFL.

Category: NFL
Tags: NFL, Steelers
Posted on: September 30, 2011 2:51 pm

Did Farrior deserve fine?

I saw the hit James Farrior put on Kerry Collins last week. It was a good, solid hit. I didn't see any penalty. Seriously, I didn't see a thing. Obviously, the game officials didn't, either. Farrior wasn't penalized.

But on Friday the NFL fined him $15,000. It's very possible there is an angle that I missed and shows a vicious hit. I also don't believe the league has it out for the Steelers. But this fine is a mystery to me. But not to Farrior.

Farrior believes he was fined because Collins suffered a concussion. The Steelers are often submerged in conspiracy theories. Most of them don't make sense. This one has some legs. For very good reason it has legs because the league wants to eliminate hits to the heads but it's still tricky when a fairly significant fine comes down on a hit in which the game officials didn't even throw a flag.

Expect the Steelers to have a lot more to say on this. 
Category: NFL
Tags: Steelers
Posted on: September 25, 2011 11:42 pm

Pittsburgh beats Indy, 23-20

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Steelers were headed towards one of the more humilating regular season losses in recent franchise history. They were about to lose to the two-headed monster of Kerry Collins and Curtis Freaking Painter. Think about that for a second.

Then two things happened. Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison, who had been quiet for much of the game, stripped Painter of the football. It bounced directly into the hands of safety Troy Polamalu who ran it in for the score. Touchdown, Pittsburgh.

Later, Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers 10-plays and 60 yards in just over two minutes, to within field goal range, and Shaun Suisham's 38-yard kick gave Pittsburgh the 23-20 victory.

It was damn ugly but the Steelers survived.

Category: NFL
Tags: Steelers
Posted on: September 16, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2011 7:09 pm

Two Steelers fined by league

It's no secret the Pittsburgh Steelers despise the league office and believe Commissioner Roger Goodell specifically targets them. It's also no secret -- though perhaps more of one -- that the league office isn't crazy about some of the Steelers. (The league will deny this vehemently but it's accurate.)

Two Steelers have been fined by the NFL: Troy Polamalu $15,000 for a horse collar tackle and Ike Taylor $15,000 for a head butt. (Nice one, Ike.) Ravens player Brendon Ayanbadejo was also fined for a horse collar tackle. He'll be $15,000 lighter in the wallet as well.

It's only fitting that it took just one game for the NFL to fine the Steelers. Now, the Steelers deserved the fines but this will only further their persecution complex.

Cue the Steelers saying the NFL targets only them in three, two, one...
Category: NFL
Tags: Steelers
Posted on: September 10, 2011 2:42 pm

New deal for Polamalu

Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu has signed a new four-year deal, I've confirmed, and with all of the new contracts and extensions signed post-lockout, Polamalu's is one of the most well-earned.

A source with knowledge of the deal said the contract makes Polamalu one of the highest paid defensive players in the league but what this deal represents more than anything is a reward for one of the hardest working and most vicious players the sport has seen. Sure, there are those who believe he's overrated (I'm looking at you Pete Prisco) but he's not.

He's the 21st century Ronnie Lott. That makes him special and this contract is well deserved.

Now, speaking of well deserved, all we need to have is Drew Brees get his deal done.
Category: NFL
Tags: Steelers
Posted on: July 13, 2011 9:17 am
Edited on: July 13, 2011 9:26 am

James Harrison is a fool and a genius

By now you've heard some of the really stupid things James Harrison has said. In some ways, it's typical Harrison. Running at the mouth. No filter. The usual dumbass comments about Roger Goodell. Boilerplate Harrsion. Plus, as is the culture now in sports, a homophobic slur is thrown in for good measure. Whatever. We've heard this nonsense from Harrison before.

Oh, and I forgot, Harrison is poised on the front of the magazine holding two pistols. Nice image, James.

But here is where Harrison is brilliant and at his best: pointing out the hypocrisy of the NFL. He says non-guaranteed contracts make players hit higher because the short term benefit of hitting high and getting a concussion outweighs the long-term issue of tearing a knee ligament. He's right.

He says if the league really wanted to protect its players, the season would be cut to 14 games. But the NFL won't do that because the money is too big. In fact, Goodell wants to go to 18 games. Harrison is right about that, too.

His point about shortening training camp and having less hitting in the offseason is also correct.

Harrison is smart. It's just that his intelligent points are clouded by his loud and dumb ones.

If Harrison wanted to be taken more seriously he'd do one thing.

Use a filter.
Category: NFL
Tags: Steelers
Posted on: July 9, 2011 9:52 am
Edited on: July 9, 2011 10:14 am

Say it isn't so, Hines Ward

I stopped believing in Santa a long time ago. Well, last year, anyway. I also know the athletes I cover aren't always who they seem. But Hines Ward was different to me. Sure, on the field, he sometimes crosses the line with cheap shot blocks, but off of it, he's a good guy. A great guy, actually, respected by most in the NFL.

So his arrest for alleged driving under the influence is a shock. It really is. Even in this hyper-cynical times, it is. Ward is the last player I'd pick to get busted for this. I've interviewed him probably 15-20 times and more importantly, I've interviewed others about him, and not just Steelers players. If you did a top five list for players respected off the field, Ward would make it. (On the field he'd make the top five most hated.)

The guy's the "Dancing with the Stars" champ, for goodness sake.

This incident, if true, is going to shatter Ward's pristine off-field image.

No, I stopped believing in Santa, but this is still a stunning moment.
Category: NFL
Tags: Steelers
Posted on: May 2, 2011 8:36 pm
Edited on: May 2, 2011 10:37 pm

Rashard Mendenhall Twitter meltdown

While much of the country is celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden, one man, Pittsburgh running back Rashard Mendenhall is basically defending him.

Oh, boy. I mean, seriously, Rashard, oh boy. This is going to be bad for you, bra'. Here is the link to his Twitter .

Mendenhall expresses doubt about September 11 after one of his followers said he was unconvinced Bin Laden was behind the attacks. "We'll never know what really happened," Mendenhall Tweeted. "I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style."

Full disclosure: Earlier I attributed a Tweet to Mendenhall someone else actually said. Stupid on my part. But I have to say, despite my dumb oversight, it really does sound like Mendenhall has serious doubts about 9-11.

He says: "We'll never know what really happened." Actually, we do. Terrorists hijacked planes loaded with jet fuel and used them as missiles. Two of their targets were hit. Unfortunately, and sadly, it's not that complicated.

Bin Laden did take credit for 9-11 attacks that sent thousands of Americans to their deaths and a large jet loaded with fuel absolutely could wipe out a skyscraper.

It's one thing to debate the effects of America's Middle East policies over the decades and how some of those policies haven't been in our country's best interests but it's another to join ranks with 9/11 conspiracy theorists.

Let me tell you about Mendenhall. I think he's actually quite smart. I've met him before. He's opinionated but I've never known him to be a conspiracy theorist. Or crazy.

There were other things on Mendenhall's Twitter timeline that were, well, interesting.

My guess: Mendenhall will clarify his remarks.


Category: NFL
Tags: Steelers
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